Homeless Memorials Remember Homeless Who Passed Away in 2016
On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, six New Jersey communities held Homeless Memorials events. Camden, Bergen, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Union Counties remembered individuals experiencing homelessness who passed away over the last year.
- Camden County held a memorial in Camden.
- Bergen County held a solemn service at Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services.
- Hudson County held a memorial at Old Bergen Church in Jersey City.
- Mercer County held a remembrance day ceremony at Turning Point United Methodist Church.
In Middlesex County, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, along with the City of Perth Amboy, God’s Army Ministries of NJ and many Middlesex County homeless service providers and advocacy organizations, held a memorial at Renovation House in Perth Amboy.
The Middlesex Freeholders were represented at the event which was also attended by Perth Amboy’s Mayor and police chief, dozens of police officers, chaplains, and cadets, community leaders, county staff, and faith leaders.
“In Middlesex County, our neighbors don’t just include those who live in the homes around us, but also those struggling to find suitable shelter,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, chair of the County’s Community Services Committee. “It is my hope that this event will raise awareness of our homeless citizens and of those who have died from exposure, illness and hate crimes, and that it acts as a call to action to help them.”
TAPintoEastBrunswick helped to publicize the event.
On December 21, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., over 175 people, including homeless families, a group of non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations, gathered for a Union County Homeless Memorial Day Vigil hosted by Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Springfield. This event, open to the public, was held on the longest night of the year and chosen as a time to remember all homeless people who died during the past year due to their lack of shelter or care.
TapintoSpringfield reported on the “well attended event.” “Members of many congregations around Union County participated in it including all members of the Springfield Interfaith Council.”
“Reverend Vicky Ney of Springfield Presbyterian gave the Benediction and was followed by Rabbi Edelman followed and said, ‘…may those that are hungry be hungry no more.’ Many members of other congregations also participated. A candle was lit for every homeless person in attendance. Between the words and prayers there was music. After the Vigil there was refreshments and socializing.”
These events offered providers, government officials, advocates and other members of the community an opportunity to remember the homeless men and women who died over the past year.