Vigil Remembers Homeless in Duluth
Posted at: 12/24/2012 5:33 AM
| Updated at: 12/24/2012 11:08 PM
By: Travis Dill
The Duluth community remembered the 37 people who died this year while living homeless with a vigil on Monday at city hall.
Churches United in Ministry, or CHUM, holds the event every year to show that homelessness is still a problem in the community.
But organizers said 37 is the largest number of people remembered since the vigil began a decade ago.
Nearly 100 people gathered, sang hymns, and held signs with the names of the deceased. Shawn Carr lent his voice to the crowd.
“Well I think a lot of times we don't see the homeless problem, and you know, to have lost 36 people that's quite a few,” Carr said. “I've known some for quite awhile and they're kind of like family to me and it's just good to have a memorial to acknowledge that they were here among us and that we mourn their loss.”
Carr works at CHUM now, but was once homeless himself.
“There's a lot of hopelessness, despair if you don't know where your next meal is coming from. You know I spent nights walking all night because I didn't have anyplace to sleep,” Carr said.
CHUM Community Organizer Matt Traynor said homelessness is a growing problem.
“Just in this last year alone we've served 934 people that have come through the CHUM doors. One of the sad things is that 70 plus are families,” Traynor said.
Funding was recently announced for the hillside apartments. The apartments will provide permanent housing for over 40 families.
But Traynor said it is important for the community to stay aware of the issue.
“So if enough people keep talking about it maybe something can happen,” Traynor said.
Construction on the Hillside Apartments is expected to begin next summer.