Homeless Memorial Day 2017
On Thursday, December 21 at 5 pm, hundreds will gather at Thomas Paine Plaza (1401 JFK Boulevard) to remember those homeless and formerly homeless Philadelphians who died in 2017. Homeless Memorial Day, an annual event commemorated in over 150 localities across the United States on or near the first day of winter, will also be a call to action to end homelessness in our city and our nation.
For the past 22 years, people have come together in Philadelphia to recognize those who have lost their lives while homeless or experienced homelessness. This year’s event will be emceed by award-winning attorney and activist Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. The memorial will include reflections by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, local community leaders, religious leaders and friends of the deceased. The evening will include a reading of more than 150 names in a solemn, candlelit ceremony.
About 15,000 people, including families, access shelter in Philadelphia each year. In addition, numerous individuals cannot access shelter, leaving them living on the street, in cars, abandoned buildings, train/bus stations and other places not meant for human habitation.
“We must continue to speak out about the struggles of our sisters and brothers who experience homelessness, poverty, and addiction,” said Sister Mary Scullion, President and Executive Director of Project HOME. “We must all work together – including elected officials – to expand effective solutions and build a truly just society for all persons.”
Philadelphia has made much progress in combatting homelessness, but the crisis persists. The opioid epidemic is claiming hundreds of lives, and many youth in the City are at risk of homelessness. In addition, there are great concerns about the effect of prospective housing and healthcare cuts on our community.
On a single night in January 2016, there were 550,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States—more than 120,000 were children under the age of 18 and more than 50,001 were between the ages of 18 and 24.
Click here for more information and follow along at #HomelessMemorial on Twitter.