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2009 Memorial Day Events

Listing of Cities Holding Memorial Day Events:
(as of 2/3/10)--141 vigils in 137 cities in 44 states, Washington DC; and Canada 141 cities in the U.S., 2 in Canada



Juneau—candlelight vigil at Marine Park, 20 people attended. In 2009, Juneau had 400 homeless adults, young adults, and children. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/012010/let_552443974.shtml


Tucson--Event held at the county plot in Evergreen Cemetery.128 deaths including 45 people without name or family; 30 people with names and family; and 53 people with names only, no family. More than 100 attended.


Glendale—Dozens gathered outside the National Guard Armory, clutching candles to honor the 417 homeless people, including 3 from the Glendale area, who died.

Modesto—event held at the Salvation Army shelter; donations of rain ponchos, jackets, hats, gloves, socks and blankets were collected.

Redding—50 people attended memorial ceremony at Good News Rescue Mission. 8 deaths in 2009. Timothy Lee Alcorn was beaten to death by teenagers at 48 years of age. http://www.redding.com/news/2009/dec/23/homeless-memorial-held-at-good-news-rescue/

San Francisco--event held at Civic Center Plaza, Network Ministries main contact.

Santa Barbara--28 deaths, http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/14/local/me-lopez14/3, http://www.noozhawk.com/ken_williams/article/070609_ken_williams_homeless_memorial_a_gesture_of_grace/, http://www.independent.com/news/2009/jul/14/east-beach-memorial-honors-deceased-homeless/, http://sbsnippets.blogspot.com/2009/07/memorial-service-for-homeless-draws.html

Santa Cruz--11th annual event.  400 homeless people have since the memorial began in 1998   47 deaths--this is the county’s highest figure since 1999.  It also marks a dramatic increase from 2008, when 20 people died.

Ventura--2nd annual event.  Event held at Plaza Park.  The memorial event was organized by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura as part of its “Lift up Your Voice Project,” which brings faith communities together to end homelessness.  Reading of the names, music and readings from various religious traditions.  Donations of blankets, jackets and bedrolls were collected.   The church’s youth group provided hot drinks, cookies and bags of personal items. At least 21 deaths--the youngest was 36 and the oldest was 71.


Boulder--2nd annual; 20 deaths, sponsored by Carriage House Community Table

Colorado Springs—100 people attended Longest Night of the Year Memorial Service, held candles and walked. Organizers said impossible to know the number of deaths, but dozens of names were read. http://www.gazette.com/articles/tribute-91196-longest-memorial.html http://www.csindy.com/colorado/Event?oid=1541830, http://www.gazette.com/articles/springs-91114-colorado-public.html, http://www.newsfirst5.com/news/homeless-discussion-becoming-more-visible/, http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/79876702.html?CFID=3057110&CFTOKEN=93226177

Denver--Several hundred people gathered outside the Denver City and County Building.  Mayor John Hickenlooper read aloud a list of names.  After his reading each name, the crowd responded with a soft, solemn “we will remember.”       155 deaths (men, women and children) http://www.coloradocoalition.org/media/news_releases/pr_vigil_2009_final.aspx


Fairfield Green--5th annual event. State Senator John McKinney spoke. Event presented by Southwest Community Health Center McKinney Health Care and Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc. Proclamation from the Governor’s office.

Hartford--200 homeless people and 50 volunteers attended. Held at Trinity Episcopal Church.  During the service, guests rose to say the names of loved ones who have died. 40 churches/synagogues and organizations helped organize the event. Donations of socks, gloves and hats collected.  A Thanksgiving-style meal followed the service.  A local cardiologist and head of the Muslim Coalition of CT, began the memorial with a traditional Muslim call to service. 19 deaths

Meriden--gift bags with gift cards, toiletries and gloves collected. Sponsored by the Community Health Center at the Center Congregational Church, 33% increase in homelessness in the state

Middletown—Memorial Service held at Church of the Holy Trinity, sponsored by Community Health Center’s Wherever You Are program. Speakers included previously or currently homeless people. Middlesex County is 2 years into a 10-year plan to end homelessness. http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2009/12/22/news/doc4b303d937497b404127072.txt

New Britain--3rd annual event.  Chapel was packed with state and local officials, community activists and clients of the various shelters to remember two men who died.   Mayor Timothy Stewart and U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy vowed to keep pursuing initiatives to help people receive supportive housing and jobs.  2 deaths. Organized by the Community Health Center at  Erwin Chapel.

New London--Open microphone allowed people who knew the deceased to speak about them. Event at All Souls Unitarian Universalist.  9 deaths, may be a 10th.

Norwich--in recognition of this day the St. Vincent de Paul hosted a spaghetti supper to benefit the city’s Hospitality Center.

District of Columbia:

Washington--Event held in front of Union Station. Attended by 80 people.   Sponsored by the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the National Coalition for the Homeless  Speakers included:  Alan Banks, David Pirtle and Neil Donovan, National Coalition for the Homeless, City Council Member Tommy Wells, Maryland State Senator Alex Mooney, Mary Ann Luby of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Dr. Janelle Goetcheus of Unity Health Care, and Bishop Imagene Stewart. .Music by the Church of the Epiphany’s Welcome Table Choir.  74 deaths
Sponsored by the Steinbruck Center, a second event was held at the Luther Place Memorial Church.   The special service was based on the Mexican Christmas tradition of Las Posadas   Taking place each of the nine nights before Christmas, the posadas are a series of celebrations held within families or communities that commemorate the difficult journey of Mary and Joseph and of their searching and begging for a safe place to stay.  The service included song, prayer and contemplation and in the end joy as the holy pilgrims are welcomed into the home and hearts of participants.



Clearwater--Event was supposed to be a candlelight vigil, but the winds snuffed out the lights.   A couple of drivers passing by the group’s lone wreath and banner honked their horns; 33 deaths.  music, sacred readings, and personal reflections highlighted the event. A hot meal followed the ecumenical service.   In lieu of flowers, donations of non-perishable goods were accepted.

Fort Myers

Hallandale Beach

Hollywood--http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192512146996&index=1#!/pages/New-Beginnings-Ministry/172220294773?v=wall, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192512146996&index=1

Jacksonville-Homeless Person’s Memorial Vigil, created by minister and outreach worker Stan Green. He created it 8 years ago. Now put together by the Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of Jacksonville. One young woman was a victim of gun violence, one man was run over when he was sleeping. http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2009-12-20/story/vigil_seeks_prayers_remembrances_for_jacksonvilles_homeless_dead_0

Key West--Rev. Stephen Braddock presided over the service at the Key West Cemetery.  Coordinated by the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League.

Marathon--Dinner was served in advance of the service.

Melbourne in Brevard County, 20 clients were memorized at the Daily Bread facility


Murdock--50 individuals gathered for a candlelight vigils about two people who died.    Catherine Rose Cala, 49, was hit by a drunk driver walking to a soup kitchen at dusk.  James Edward Taylor, 36, died in his tent due to complications with pneumonia.  2 deaths.

Naples-several dozen came to courtyard of St. Matthew’s House for the annual candlelight vigil. 21 names read. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/dec/21/shelter-holds-candlelight-vigil-honor-homeless-who/


Pinellas Park-- music, sacred readings, and personal reflections highlighted the event. A hot meal followed the ecumenical service.   In lieu of flowers, donations of non-perishable goods were accepted.

St. Petersburg--music, sacred readings, and personal reflections highlighted the event. A hot meal followed the ecumenical service.   In lieu of flowers, donations of non-perishable goods were accepted. http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2009/12/22/national-homeless-persons-memorial-day-in-st-pete-a-howl-from-the-back-row/


Tallahassee--11 deaths.   Event held in a city park.   Sponsored by 23 local agencies, including The Shelter and the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.  A light dinner and refreshments followed the service. Held at Carter-Howell-Strong Park.

Tampa--Event held in the  Joe Chillura Courthouse Square. Names of the deceased were typed on slips of paper and given out to the participants.48 deaths (40 men and 8 women). Reasons for death include being hit by cars, beatings, drowning in local waterways, cancer, untreated medical ailments, and suicide. In 2008, there were 53.   Since 2004, there have been 284

Tarpon Springs-- music, sacred readings, and personal reflections highlighted the event. A hot meal followed the ecumenical service.   In lieu of flowers, donations of non-perishable goods were accepted.

Tavernier-service by Rev. Pam Feeser at Settlers Park.


Atlanta--Two events
1. Nov. 2.  It is usually  held on the Nov. 1st or on the weekday closest to Nov. 1st. -- this year November 2.
The first day of November is always All Saints' Day -- Oct 31 is All Hallows' Eve.  This year was the 21st annual Homeless Memorial Day and Requiem for Homeless People Who Died. 

The  Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless  always invites organizations and service provider groups to come to its art studio t the  Peachtree Pine shelter and make signs and banners for Memorial Day and for the march to City Hall on that day.  This year several groups, including the International Action Center, student groups, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteers joined residents of Peachtree-Pine in the making of signs and banners preparing for the day.  

The day began, as is the custom, with coffee and donuts at Peachtree Pine and then a Funeral March complete with coffins and 250 people walking solemnly down Peachtree Street to City Hall where solemn litany was held  for those who died, and  their crosses and markers were placed on the grass to demonstrate each life and all 54 lives lost this year.  Speakers like former City Councilmember Derrick Boazman, "Able" Mable Thomas, State Senator Vincent Fort, and many others joined in pledging  "not another death!"   Marchers then went in to the City Council meeting to speak about the city's policies that close shelters and cost lives.  The advocates asked for a new direction after the election, one that vigorously seeks housing for all and NO FORECLOSURES.

Lunch was served to all there by Cascade United Methodist Church, one of the 42 communities of faith serving people at Peachtree Pine.

At 3:30 buses began leaving Peachtree Pine and traveling to all other facilities in Atlanta to transport homeless people to the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead where at 5:30 there was a hot dinner f       for all and at 7:00 a Requiem Eucharist celebrated with the famed civil rights leader, Dr. Joseph Lowery preaching.    Over 1000 people attended the service, and agencies with their banners walked I       in the processional with clergy from several other faiths.  Each time Dr. Jim Beaty read a name during the candlelit time, a bell sounded and that person's cross was walked to the altar by a friend or
an acquaintance.  All 54 crosses were laid on the altar joining the hundreds from past years.   54 deaths.

  1. 21st vigil held in a downtown parking lot.  4th annual event.   Sponsored by St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Services.





Honolulu--300 homeless people and their supporters gathered for a candlelight ceremony and dinner.  The names of the deceased were placed on a holiday tree.  Free clothes and toys given out.  The Hepatitis Network passed out razors to keep people from sharing razors and contracting Hepatitis C.   Area churches organized activities for houseless children  Groceries for families were passed out by to use over the holidays.  Numerous Street Beat vendors, Hawaii’s street newspaper, volunteered at the event.


Coeur d’Alene--Mayoral proclamation, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=coeur+d'alene+proclamation+homeless+memorial&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=


Chicago--24 deaths, Heartland Health Outreach sponsored. Held at the Truman College cafeteria


Evansville- 7 deaths, 71 deaths since 1990. Held at Trinity United Methodist Church. The city has taken part in nationwide homeless memorial ceremonies for the past 9 years. Halfway through a 10-year plan to end homelessness. A new 8th candle was lit to recognize those who may have been overlooked. The names of the 7 who died were read. One man was murdered in his sleep. http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/dec/17/remembering-evansvilles-homeless----video/

Jeffersonville--50 people gathered just off Exit O ramp.  Attendees include Haven House Services, Jesus Cares at Exit 0, and a chapter of the Christian  Motorcyclists of America.  One speaker reminded the crowd to remember not only those who died, but every John and Jane Doe who died living without a home.  Stockings full of necessities were handed out.  Four days later on Christmas Day a homeless person, age 50, was found dead at a camp site.  14 deaths. 

Kokomo-- http://www.kokomotribune.com/opinion/local_story_001234409.html Candlelight prayer vigil held for CAM, Coordinate Assistance Ministries, Inc. clients and staff, 12th annual, held on CAM porch

Indianapolis--The event, an annual one since 1996. Held at Christ Church Cathedral. In attendance was a mix of civic leaders, homeless people/advocates.  300 people in the pews, another 100 standing in the back of the sanctuary and on the sides.  50 gongs rang for each homeless person who died. Also at the service, the names were projected on a screen in front of a church on Monument Circle.  A bookmark was placed in the programs with the different names of the persons who passed away. Two formerly homeless people who now live in transitional housing shared their success stories.   Mayor Greg Ballard spoke and said that the struggling economy had led to “additional challenges” regarding homelessness.   A free lunch followed the service.  In 2008, the death toll was 38. Since 1996, the overall total is:  367   50 deaths


Davenport—held at the gazebo at the Marquette Street Landing, candlelight vigil.

Des Moines--1st annual event.  Event flyer read:  Honor, Remember, Prevent.  Proclamation by the City.  Donations of candles, batteries, gloves, tents, sleeping bags collected. Held at State Capitol grounds. Sponsored by Joppa Outreach. http://www.ci.des-moines.ia.us/mayor_council/proclamations/2009/national%20homeless.pdf, http://www.ci.des-moines.ia.us/mayor_council/agendas/proclamationsindex.htm


Wichita--3rd annual event. Sponsored by the Advocates to End Chronic Homelessness.  Event took place at the First Metropolitan Community Church which also sponsors the Warming Overflow shelter for the month of December.  About 75 people attended the event.


Louisville--event held on courthouse steps; An empty casket was supplied by a local funeral home-used to represent those who died--was carried by participants to the top of the courthouse steps.  As the pall bearers climbed the steps, they were joined in song by the crowd.  Sister Mary Francis Shafer of the Coalition for the Homeless said, “ As we remember those who have died in the last 12 months let us also remember those who are still here and walking our streets.” 27 deaths


New Orleans--event organized by the Healthcare for the Homeless.  Both Flu shots H1N1 shots were made available at the event. Over time, “homelessness kills people,” said Martha Kegel, director of Unity of Greater New Orleans.  14 deaths  Several names were unknown and two were known only their nicknames.  Several days before the event Unity outreach workers spent time determining which of the homeless people who sleep in front of the New Orleans Mission were most likely to die without housing.  

Shreveport--1st annual event.   Sponsored by the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission.   Names were read of people who died over the past two years.  40 deaths over a two year period.


Bangor—4th annual event.  More than a 100 people turned out51 candles were lighted inside the church, one for each of the deceased, and the church bells tolled 51 times.  8  deaths in 2009; another 43 deaths from previous years. 

Lewiston-has for a decade been held in Lewiston, but will this year be held in Auburn. Both cities have recent 10-year plans to end homelessness. Sponsored by Lewiston Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless. Mayor Gleason and John O’Brien from the United States Interagency Council on Homeless were set to speak. http://www.auburnmaine.org/index.asp?Type=B_EV&SEC={F8CADE49-B8BF-4E01-8C5A-2293870C04B8}&DE={5EB4D333-2B4B-4F8E-AEA1-02AC3D979601}, http://www.povertyontrial.org/specialevents.html#12-21-09,

Portland--event organized by Health Care for the Homeless


Baltimore--Mayoral proclamation. Mayor Sheila Dixon spoke who reaffirmed her commitment to provide adequate shelter and services for the city’s homeless citizens. 150 people gathered.  Each person’s name written on an individual “luminary”--a gallon milk jug with a candle placed inside, and read aloud as a remembrance.  Interfaith event  46 deaths.

Bel Air--3rd annual, put forth in 2007 by Harford County’s Health Care for the Homeless Project, Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United, Inc., and Harford County’s Department of Social Services Adult Services Division. The Sharing Hope Foundation joined in 2009 to help with the event.

Prince Frederick—Held Feb. 21, 2010, held at St. John Vianney Family Life Center. Offered by Safe Nights with Project Echo. The event was focused on small town and/or homelessness in rural areas. People were asked to name those who died or people who are not known where to be. A moment of silence was also included.  

Towson--2nd annual event.  Prayer, Scripture readings, poetry, songs from church choirs highlighted the event which was followed with a simple meal;   At the end of the evening, the participants marched on a walk to a memorial wall,     The memorial wall was the idea of Greg Norton, 16, who built the 5-foot-high brick wall as part of his Eagle Scout project.   The memorial service in 2008 and his volunteer work at a soup kitchen inspired him.  He raised $600 for the wall project and the Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless awarded a grant of $1,500.  He plans to add a plaque with space for the year and the number of homeless who died.12 deaths.


Boston-Interfaith Homeless Memorial at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. http://sparechangenews.net/content/national-homeless-persons-memorial-day-2009, http://kelvinmaphoto.com/blog/page/3/, http://www.necn.com/Boston/New-England/2009/01/09/Memorial-for-beloved-homeless/1231555463.html

Hyannis--Due to the implementation of the Housing First program, the number of homeless deaths has greatly decreased over the past few years. Event held by the Federated Church of Hyannis. 10 deaths. http://www.wickedlocal.com/barnstable/news/x1431153013/Memorial-planned-in-Hyannis-for-homeless
Springfield—at Christ Church Cathedral


Detroit—Detroit Healthcare for the Homeless with Cathedral of St. Paul. The event included an ecumenical service, a meal, and warming gifts.


Minneapolis--25th annual event.  Sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.400 mourners marched in a quiet procession through the streets of Minneapolis.  They marched from the Hennepin County Government Center to Simpson United Methodist Church..  Many carried signs bearing a name of one of the 119 people who died.  “Gary, 54, St. Paul,” or simply “Unknown Man, Minneapolis”. More than 700 people attended the Memorial service. 119 deaths compared to 131 in 2008.
Mourners worried that next year’s list could be even longer due to the economy



Jackson--James Ivory Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day has been observed since 1992. Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. issued a Proclamation. It is named for the late James Ivory, a former director of the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center’s Homeless Clinic, who was an ardent advocate for the homeless.  The observance included a performance of “Boxmen, “ a dramatic reading of a one-act play about two homeless men who reside in an elaborate cardboard box in an un-named southern city.   The event also included music, a dramatic recitation, and a memorial drumming session.   Heather Ivery, the city’s homeless coordinator, asked for people to become more involved in homeless issues, including the homeless themselves.


St. Joseph--About 50 people attended the event, hosted by the St. Joseph Continuum of Care for Homeless Services

St. Louis--event supported by Community Alternatives and over 50 partnering agencies. Hosted by The Bridge, a daily center for the homeless and food insecure. Ecumenical worship service, music, personal tributes and remembrances of those who have passed, and a reading of each person’s name followed by a bell ringing.   A candlelight moment of silence concluded the service .   Following the service, a holiday dinner was provided to over 350 individuals who attended the service. http://www.community-alternatives.org/content/st-louis-memorializes-homeless-who-died-2009


Billings—16th year, outside Yellowstone County Courthouse. Ceremony involving prayer and candles. Event sponsored by the Healthcare for the Homeless Program at RiverStone Health. Clarence Salley from RiverStone Health says that “It’s a prevalent problem in Billings and in most cities. It’s just kind of hidden. A lot of homeless want to remain invisible.” The number of homeless students has risen in the past few years, and the community’s response has increased as well. http://www.ktvq.com/news/national-homeless-memorial-day/, http://www1.kpax.com/news/national-homeless-memorial-day/

Helena--Mayor and Lt. Governor spoke; 28 deaths from 4 cities, about 70 people attended. http://www.helenair.com/news/opinion/article_338c78ca-d4cf-11de-b913-001cc4c002e0.html


Omaha (5 different shelters held events)--Mayor Jim Suttle spoke at one of the events.  36 deaths.--ages ranged from 2 years to 73 years.


Las Vegas--non-perishable food items collected; 42 deaths.   Of the 42, 39 were men and three were women.  Most were in their 40s and 50s.  13 died of natural causes, while drugs or alcohol were contributing factors in 11 of the deaths.  4 were homicides and 5 were due to exposure to the elements.  Cause of death for 9 other cases is still pending http://www.lvrj.com/news/list-of-homeless-who-didnt-survive-the-streets-totals-42-79392997.html

Reno--40 people attended the church service at Reno First United Methodist Church. 34 deaths

New Hampshire:

Concord--event held at State House Plaza;  canned food items collected.  Proclamation by Governor John Lynch

Keene--event held on the Keene Central Square; donations for local service organizations collected; 10 deaths

Laconia--event held at Veterans Square

Lebanon-- canned food items collected, candlelight vigil in front of the 1st Congregational Church of Lebanon

Manchester--held at Veterans Park; 10 deaths

Nashua --event held in front of Nashua City Hall, candles were burned, names of the deceased were read, and there were short explanations of some of their deaths.

New Jersey:

Atlantic—At New Jersey State House, sponsored by Mission HealthCare-Atlanticare Health Services, contact: Sarai Huertas. http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/atlantic/, http://www.nj.com/events/index.ssf/event/2009-homeless-persons-memorial-day-services/205148/placead, http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/memorial-day-calendar/

Bergen—first annual, at the Bergen County Housing, Health, and Human Services Center, sponsored by Bergen Center Advance Housing, contact: Henrielle Manapat. Attended by Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney. http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/bergen/

Hudson--first Interfaith event.  Socks, hats, gloves and scarves collected and distributed. Held at the Church of the Incarnation, sponsored by Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation. http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/memorial-day-calendar/

Jersey City—1st interfaith Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day led by Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation and the Church of the Incarnation. Held at the Church of the Incarnation. Socks, hats, gloves, and scarves were to be collected and distributed. There was also a tribute to the late Deacon Joe Del Monte.

Mercer--event held outside the statehouse.   Sponsored by the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness.  The service included readings, poems and a proclamation from Gov. Jon S. Corzine, prayers, music  and a reading of the names.   A Thaddeus Ball Jr., a formerly homeless person, who knew two of the people on the list, although he didn’t realize that they had passed away until attending the service.    Rev. Bruce Davidson of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry said, “We mark this day with sadness for the lives that have been lost, but we celebrate the fact that those we remember today have been remembered and not forgotten.” 45 deaths. Contact: Tarry Truitt http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/memorial-day-calendar/

Middlesex--event was scheduled to take place in Monument Square, but was moved inside the United Methodist Church due to the heavy snow and severe cold.  Remarks were given by government officials, community leaders and those who have personally experienced the hardships of homelessness.  Poetry, songs, and readings from diverse religious texts were also presented.  14 deaths. Sponsored by Elijah’s Promise. Contact: Lisanne Finston or Taiisa Telesford http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/middlesex/

New Brunswick—event in the United Methodist Church, speakers. 14 names read of those who recently died. Moment of silence and candle lighting in their memory.

Ocean-put forth by the NJ Advocacy to End Homelessness, collaboration of Pastor Applegate, Lacey United Methodist Church congregation, the Shalom Ministry, and the Mental Health Association of NJ, Inc.’s Journey to Wellness Self Help Center in Barnegat. Held at Lacey United Methodist Church, dinner and then a service by Pastor Linda Applegate. A candlelight vigil ended the memorial. http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/ocean/ Sponsored by Journey to Wellness Thru Mental Health Association of N.J., Contact Cyndy Walters http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/memorial-day-calendar/

Passaic--Mayor Joey Torres issued a proclamation, held at Eva’s Kitchen and Sheltering Programs, sponsored by Eva’s Kitchen and Sheltering Programs and coordinated by Barbara Niziol. http://www.njaneh.org/memorial-day/passaic/

Paterson- mayoral proclamation.

Trenton-45 homeless deaths in the last 5 years due to lack of shelter or care. Held outside the Statehouse, hosted by the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness.

New Mexico:

Albuquerque--Homeless Memorial Wall, short ceremony.   March from health care for homeless clinic to a church; donations of socks and gloves collected. http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/files/half-pg-vigil-flyer-final.pdf

Las Cruces

New York:

Buffalo—over 300 blankets collected, held at Buffalo City Hall, memorial service and candle vigil, estimates of 2-3 dozen dying a year from the cold or complications. The event was planned by the Western New York Coalition for the Homeless.

Jamestown--Speakers were from a Methodist Church, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Sheriff’s Office. Vigil and service at the St. Susan Center where speakers spoke about awareness and activism.

New York City--Sponsored by Picture the Homeless, interfaith memorial service, hosted by Judson Memorial Church

Rochester--vigils held at 3 shelters run by the Friends of St. Bridgets, a small faith community

North Carolina:

Asheville-held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, http://ashevillehomeless.org/blog/?p=252, http://www.mountainx.com/blogwire/2010/homeless_memorial_service_reschedule_in_asheville_april_3, http://ashevillehomeless.org/blog/?p=297, http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100405/NEWS/304050017/1004/ADVERTISING

Durham--9 deaths, CCB Plaza. Service led by the Rev. Herbert Davis, pastor of Nehemiah Christian Center and outgoing chairman of the Executive Team of Durham’s Ten Year Plan to End (long term) Homelessness.

Charlotte--20 deaths, candlelight vigil, songs. Local politician spoke.

Greensboro—10 names were posted on empty, green chairs arranged across Grace Community Church’s stage. “Unknown” was written on an 11th chair to symbolize that there could be more homeless people who died. 50 people walked from a shelter to the church. 10 deaths

North Dakota:

Bismarck--Governor issued a proclamation marking the first time the state has recognized Memorial Day.  A City Council Member spoke. 11deaths, held at the McCabe church, http://governor.nd.gov/proc/archive/2009/200912.html


Akron—hosted by Michelle Whitely

Cincinnati--held in Washington Park, http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blog-1107-homeless-memorial-day-marked.html

Cleveland--175 people in attendance; 46 deaths. State Representative Mike Skindell spoke, and Rev. Kelly Burd, Larry Davis, and Rabbi Joshua Caruso gave prayers. Held at St. Malachi Hall, state legislation now observes the day, http://clevelandhomeless.blogspot.com/2009/12/photo-by-rosie-palfy-normal-0-false.html, http://clevelandhomeless.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html

Columbus-Interfaith Memorial Service-Trinity Episcopal Church, ending with a candle lighting ceremony. Sponsored by the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, Jim Rose put it on http://columbushomeless.wordpress.com/, http://columbushomeless.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/remembering-those-who-have-died-on-the-streets/

Dayton-100 people attended at Courthouse Square Plaza for the 11th annual memorial, 18 deaths, names and ages read. It was sponsored by the Emergency Housing Coalition. President of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Dan Foley was one of the speakers. http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/18-homeless-people-died-in-dayton-area-in-2009-458777.html?imw=Y

Toledo--11 deaths, held at Trinity Episcopal Church, Ken Leslie-homeless advocate, http://www.examiner.com/x-33817-Toledo-Ecumenical--Interfaith-Examiner~y2009m12d24-Homeless-remembered-by-name-at-memorial


Albany--1st observance of Memorial Day, front of city hall.   Mayoral proclamation by Mayor Sharon Konopa, 21-gun salute by the American Legion honor guard.  Donations of socks thermal underwear, stocking caps, gloves, hooded sweatshirts and gently used coats collected. 12 deaths, sponsored by the city, Homeless Enrichment and Rehabilitation Team, American Legion Post 10, Community Services Consortium and Samaritan Health Services. http://www.cityofalbany.net/services/news_releases/show_item.php?id=996, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=albany+or+proclamation+homeless+memorial&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

The Dalles--event held on the front steps of the Wasco County Courthouse.  Sponsors included:  Wasco County Court, the city of The Dalles, Mid-Columbia Health Service, Mid-Columbia Community Action Agency and American Legion Post 19.   Both the city and the county issued proclamations.


Philadelphia--200 people gathered at City hall, and after the event, a smaller group laid a wreath near the Municipal Building.   Mayor Nutter spoke to the crowd and said, “There is no good God-given reason for anyone to suffer without a roof over his head.>’ 87 deaths--70 men and 17 women. http://www.projecthome.org/advocacy/news.php?id=108

Pittsburgh--12th annual event sponsored by Operation Safety Net/Mercy Hospital.   About 50 people gathered under a bypass ramp where plaques with each person’s names are permanently mounted.  As of 2009, there are well over 100 plaques listing people who have died over the past 12 years, when the memorial was first started.  Participants, many who were homeless street outreach workers, recounted vivid memories about interactions that they had with the person over the years.  Causes of death ranged from hypothermia, to drowning, to being hit by a train. 11 deaths.

Wilkes-Barre--4th annual event.  Co-sponsored b  y St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and the Luzerne County Homeless Coalition.   The event included readings, reflection and a hymn, a candlelight procession to the courtyard where the names were read.  A light dinner followed the service. 8 deaths compared to 10 in 2008.

Rhode Island

Providence- Homeless Memorial Day Service at Beneficent Church, Carleton Freese, who was formerly homeless, was the featured singer. Freese became homeless due to medical problems. Candles were lit and names were called out for the 18 known deaths. 150 people attended. Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless Jim Ryczek lit another candle for the people who were not on the list. The number of homeless people has been on the rise in Rhode Island since 2007, says Eric Hirsch, a professor at Providence College.

South Carolina:

Charleston-at Marion Square, 12 deaths, Crisis Ministries hosted, memorial through prayer and candles, 5th annual http://cfc.wciv.com/videoondemand.cfm?id=55217&cat=news

Myrtle Beach--1st annual event.  The death toll in 2009 was the highest over the past 9 years.  Up until this year, the highest death toll was 12 homeless deaths in 2007. 18 deaths.   Of the 18 remembered, 7 died in their sleep. 3 from a heart attack, 2 from cancer, 2 were stabbed,  Of the remaining 4, 1 was burned in a tent fire, another was found beaten to death near a tent, 1 died from a seizure, and 1 was found frozen.


Chattanooga--held at the Day Center of Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  Each person was recognized with an empty tray at th e table, recognizing the space that person would have occupied. 30 deaths

Jackson—held at St. Luke’s Area Relief Ministries

Knoxville—1st annual, hosted by the Cherokee Health Systems Broadway Homeless Clinic. Candle light walk from the Broadway Clinic to a Lutheran church; 11 identified deaths, at least 4 other deaths with unidentified names



Austin--held on Nov. 22, 2009.  17th annual Homeless Memorial.  Ceremony happened under the Homeless Memorial Tree at Auditorium Shores. Council Member spoke.  Thermal tops and bottoms, knit hats, gloves, socks and rain ponchos collected. 158 deaths (156 adults and two infants). Names were read, and origami swans were hung for them on the tree.

Bryan--2nd annual; held at a rescue mission; warm socks, gloves and caps collected, sponsored by the Brazos Valley Coalition for the Homeless, held at Twin City Mission Center



Lubbock--4th annual event; held at public library attended by city council members, various church groups and other community organizations; several children of the audience members canvassed their neighborhood for coats and blankets to bring to the memorial service. Organized by the Community Health Center of Lubbock and the South Plains Homeless Consortium. Students from a middle school passed out hot dogs, hot cocoa, clothing and blankets to the homeless residing on library steps. http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/122209/loc_538173752.shtml

San Antonio--Navarra Williams of SAMMinistries read off 75 names. Compared to 45 in 2008.


Salt Lake City--event held in Pioneer Park.  Sponsored by the Salt Lake County Homeless Coordinating Council.   Attended by 200 people.  Guest speaker included: Governor Gary Herbert, City Mayor Ralph Becker, County Mayor Peter Corroon and Homeless Advocate Pamela  Atkinson.  A formerly homeless person, Amy Nissen, addressed the crowd and told her personal story of struggles while homeless.   She then read aloud the names of 58 homeless individuals who died on Utah’s streets in 2009. Mayor Corroon said, On this longest night of the year we are reminded just how difficult life is without a home.”   Governor Herbert said, “In this season of generosity, citizens of Utah are encouraged to commit themselves to promote compassion for all.  Especially those who are less fortunate and homeless.”  The ceremony was concluded by the singing of the East High School Choir.


Burlington-The Community Health Center of Burlington and Uncommon Grounds observed the day. The memorial service remembered those who used the assistance of the Committee on Temporary Shelter. http://www.cotsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65&Itemid=84 , http://www.chcb.org/about/news-events/details?news_item_id=23, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/burlingtonfreepress/access/1927001501.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Dec+22%2C+2009&author=Matt+Ryan&pub=The+Burlington+Free+Press&edition=&startpage=B.2&desc=Donations+help+homeless+stay+warm


Charlottesville-beginning at Charlottesville Ice Park, there was a candlelit walk, ending at the City Space on the Downtown Mall with a memorial service. Estimates of 1,000 homeless people in the area. Kaki Dimock of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless stated that “This memorial is the community recognizing that someone was here, someone lived. This is recognizing the human being in all of us.” http://pacemshelter.org/

Norfolk—49 homeless people have died since 1990. The number of homeless people in Norfolk increased in 2009.

Virginia Beach--3rd annual event.  Held at The Lighthouse Center, service held in the parking lot. Sponsored by Volunteers of America, Ches. and Friends of the Lighthouse Center. http://hamptonroads.com/2009/12/memorials-honor-homeless-who-have-departed

Washington State:

Bremerton--donations of food with pop-lids such as pasta, pudding, soup and stew;  packets of crackers (cheese and peanut butter filled), granola/breakfast bars, small bags of nuts, jerky; and drink boxes of fruit juice collected; 4 deaths, held at First Christian Church/Disciples of Christ.

Spokane--balloons were released in honor of those who passed away. Hosted by Community Health Association of Spokane at CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic. http://councilmanjonsnyder.com/?p=101

Yakima--5th annual event,  Held in Millennium Plaza.  City issued a proclamation. 17 deaths--9 men and 8 women. Sponsored by Homeless Network of Yakima County. Candles lit.


Kenosha--3rd annual.  Held at Veterans Memorial Park.  Sponsored by  Walkin’ In My Shoes.   Balloons were released.   Several people were recognized for recently moving into housing. 2 deaths including a veteran who died one day away from moving into a supportive housing program. 

LaCrosse--1st annual event; 104 people attended; blankets and sleeping bags were collected; Mayoral proclamation by Mayor Mathias Harter. Mayor Curtiss Hartley said, “It is important for us to be reminded that homelessness is a real need in our area.  We talk about numbers, but we must never forget that each statistic is a person.” When the name “Mark, age 19,” was read, gasps from audience members were heard; 7 deaths, 8th candle for the unknown http://www.lacrossetribune.com/news/local/article_8a6e8d8c-eebe-11de-822e-001cc4c03286.html

Madison--30 people gathered at the central library and then proceeded to outside area in front of the men’s shelter and chanted a demand for affordable housing before marching to the other side of the Capitol building for a brief service at the bench where a homeless man was found dead last summer.   He died of natural causes.  His death drew attention because of its public location.  People also questioned whether more could have been done to save him


Cheyenne--A dozen people gathered at the steps of the State Capitol; 9 deaths


Edmonton, Alberta—Candlelight vigil held at the Boyle Street Community Centre, 170 people attended. 46 deaths. Estimate of 200 deaths in the last 5 years. Edmonton-2 years into 10-year plan to address homelessness. Lorette Garrick from the George Spady Centre said that “We don’t need to name names because the people here today know who passed away.”

Victoria, BC—Event been going on for past 2 years.  Proclamation issued, held at whale wall park.

Toronto, ON—http://t.oronto.ca/housing-activists-remember-three-more-homeless-deaths-in-toronto-by-john-bonnar/, http://www.torontoobserver.ca/2010/02/10/memorial-marks-suffering-of-the-homeless/, http://www.pcwf.ca/memorial-for-the-600-homeless-who-passed-away

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