Candlelight Vigil to Remember Those Homeless Individuals Who Died in 2016

                  Senator Sherrod Brown will be our honored speaker at the 2016 Homeless Memorial Day in Cleveland and the event will feature famed guitarist Brian Henke.  The 30th Annual Homeless Memorial Day will take place on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at West Side Catholic Center at 3135 Lorain Ave. at 1 p.m.  US Senator Sherrod Brown is a friend to homeless people most recently helping City Mission with an issue regarding homeless families’ access to tax payer services. 

Brown is the ranking Democrat on the Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in the Senate which is critical to proposing national housing and homeless policies in the United States.  This year we will read the names of those who passed away over the last year and spent some time homeless, and unfortunately this will be the longest list in our 30 year history of the vigil.  We will have a number of religious leaders who offer a prayer for those who passed away, along with music from Brian Henke.  We will light a candle as we remember those who passed away over the last year.   Media are welcome to attend and photograph the memorial/vigil. 

                 We have seen another increase in women who need shelter and families at the same time seeing a decrease in the number of available shelter beds.  We have actually noticed an unfortunate decline in donations of blankets and winter items possibly because it was so warm until late in the year.  We hope this turns around during this holiday season.  We are also all worried about future funding for the shelters and social services in light of no discussions during the Presidential elections of the crisis in affordable housing facing our country. 

               Joining with other cities throughout the state and country, the Cleveland vigil will include a look back at homelessness in Cleveland.  In 2009, Ohio legislators designated December 21 as Ohio Homeless Memorial Day. Every big city in Ohio has a similar vigil to remember those who have passed away over the previous year.   We will read the names of those who passed away and had some experience with homelessness on Wednesday after the meal at West Side Catholic.  We typically have around 100 people who attend the memorial and this year we will also remember West Side Catholic long term staff member Sue DiNardo who suddenly passed away in the last few weeks. 

by Brian Davis

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