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United Workers host poverty and health crisis memorial

They launched a new "Right to Health" campaign to stop people from dying in poverty.
United Workers
Posted at 7:32 PM, May 27, 2024

ELDERSBURG, Md. — For some Marylanders, affording a funeral is too costly, but United Works says that doesn't mean those who die should go unclaimed and unidentified.

They launched a new "Right to Health" campaign to stop people from dying in poverty.

It's in response to poor and homeless people who have died and gone unidentified or to families who could not afford a funeral.

"I don't wanna see no more people go through this situation like this right here. It's stressful for people," said Tanya Diggs, who was unable to bury her cousin once he died.

According to Maryland law, a family has 72 hours to claim their relative's body and provide funerary services.

If they can't afford that, the anatomy board takes the body to the mass grave at Springfield Hospital. Before burial, the Maryland Department of Health Anatomy Board cremates any unclaimed bodies.

"When people die, there's no safe alternative to die with dignity," says Elliot Slatr with United Workers.

Slatr says Monday's meeting is the first step in creating a foundation that puts an end to people dying in poverty.

Editor's note: This article was edited on 5/28/2024 to clarify that before burial at Springfield Hospital, the remains are cremated. WMAR apologizes if any of our reporting was misleading.