While Congress cuts funding to programs that serve individuals experiencing homelessness, we are quickly approaching December 21st, Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Each year on the first day of winter and longest night of the year, hundreds of local organizations, advocates, and people experiencing homelessness gather in our communities to take pause from their work and everyday lives to honor those whose lives have been lost in homelessness. We state clearly, together with others in scores of communities across our nation, that no person should die for lack of housing.
Each Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day event is unique to its community, but the events often include readings of names, candles, prayers, personal remembrances, marches, and moments of silence. They are often held outdoors, sometimes – fittingly – in the bitter cold. And they often include calls to address the systemic causes of tragically avoidable deaths.