Christmas Eve vigil honoring the lives lost to homelessness

Anyone can become homeless at any point in their lifetime. It is not a decision that people make. It can be so simple and so hard to recover from.

"I’ve come to understand that they are human beings whose situations have proven to be unfair able for them or they have made mistakes. A lot of persons would have made that right turn to be able to bring about the change in their lives necessary, unfortunately, others have not,” said John Cole, the Executive director at CHUM.

In St Louis County, the population has increased in the last year, according to the January 2020 unsheltered survey. Most of the increase is due to a lack of basic and affordable housing. Homeless advocates say that in Duluth, around 250 people are living on the streets, in tents, cars, in the woods, under bridges, or even in places that are not suitable for human habitation.

CHUM held its annual Christmas Eve vigil honoring the lives of those that passed away this year who experienced homelessness. The event also shed light on the growing struggles homeless people face in the Northland.

One of the supporters at Friday’s vigil was Ms. Sue Hartman. This was her first time attending the vigil. She was there in support of her brother Darrell, who became homeless and unfortunately passed away this year.

“We all share a bond, which is our love and our care and our desire to help in the homeless cause," says Hartman.

There were about 75 names remembered on Friday, ranging from age 23 to 98 years old, along with beloved animals that were honored. This is the 15th year that CHUM has held this annual Christmas Eve vigil.