Memorial to honor dozens who died while homeless this past year

Ceremony to start at 7:15 p.m. Thursday evening

Homeless memorial Service with candles

Ahead of the holidays, the community is invited to gather and remember those who tragically died in 2023 without the comfort and warmth of a stable home. This poignant annual event, held on the longest night of the year, serves as a stark reminder of the harsh realities of homelessness.

“Each name read aloud is a painful reminder of the urgent need for community-wide action to address homelessness and its devastating consequences.” said Shinica Thomas, Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners “This year we’ve worked together with partners to increase the number of beds available any night of the week, including the harshest nights of winter. Wake County is committed to reducing the list of names on this list year-by-year until we reach zero.”

Early findings from the Unsheltered Facility Study, commissioned by Wake County’s Housing Affordability & Community Revitalization team, show how urgent the need for housing is. Data revealed more than 3,000 households reaching out for help in over a three-year period called from a “literally homeless situation” of which 76.5% were single adults. A literally homeless situation means they didn’t have a fixed, regular and adequate place to go at night.

In November, the doors of The Bryant Center opened thanks to funding from Wake County and City of Raleigh to provide a new drop-in night-time shelter for men and women looking for a safe place to sleep. The center operates as a White Flag shelter but beyond that, will remain open all nights of the week regardless of the temperature through March.

Since 2004, the South Wilmington Street Center has hosted this solemn Homelessness Memorial on the night of the Winter Solstice. This emergency and transitional shelter is the ideal space for the community to come together to reflect on the collective responsibility to address homelessness. National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day coincides with this local observance, emphasizing the nationwide scope of this issue.

Details for the memorial event are as follows:

No RSVP is required for this event. The community is invited to join in solidarity, to remember, and to contemplate the critical community resources necessary to prevent further deaths to homelessness.

Press Release