On Wednesday, December 21st, 2016, a memorial program was held by homeless service providers to remember people who passed away during 2016 in New York City without stable housing. Traditionally, “Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day” events are held in more than 170 cities in North America on the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.
Care for the Homeless and Urban Pathways held a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day program, at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, on the 5th floor at 37 W. 65th Street, between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. Event attendees were served full meals provided by Masbia.
The memorial part of the program included the reading of names of those being memorialized. As each name was read a bell toll, a candle was lit, and information about the person was projected on a screen. Several individuals received a short eulogies by people who knew them. There was also an opportunity for participants to add the name of anyone they remember who passed away this year without stable housing.
The program also included a memorial wall, musical entertainment and information about how chronic homelessness impacts medical and mental health, and how homelessness could be ended. The program was free and open to the public.
Urban Pathways is a 40-year provider of housing, services and supports to homeless adult New Yorker’s. In operation since 1975, they currently operate over 584 units of supportive housing for homeless people, as well as drop-in centers and safe havens, and provide street outreach and employment services. They serve about 2,000 homeless New Yorker’s annually.
Care for the Homeless is New York City’s oldest and largest provider of healthcare exclusively to people experiencing homelessness in New York City. They serve between 8-and-10,000 patients annually in over 35,000 medical encounters. They provide both medical and mental healthcare services, operate a shelter for medically frail and mentally ill women and provide other services.
Both Care for the Homeless and Urban Pathways actively advocate for policies to fight, prevent and end homelessness. Most of those speaking or reading names at the event will be Urban Pathways or Care for the Homeless clients.
Photographs by Steve Latimer.