Marchers remember the 40 homeless people who died in Portland area in 2017

Forty homeless people died in Greater Portland this year and Nancy McKeil has a solemn message for those fortunate enough to have a home and warm bed to sleep in this winter.

“It should never happen,” said McKeil, who lives in Section 8 housing in Portland. “No one should ever have to be homeless.”

McKeil knows all too well the devastating consequences of not having shelter and food. Her daughter, 31-year-old Trishia Crocker, was homeless this year. A friend found her body on Oct. 6 in the tent where she had been living. She left three young daughters, ages 11, 9 and 3.

McKeil was among the 150 people who participated in the city’s 23rd Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil on Thursday night, mourning the lives of those who died by gathering at the Preble Street Resource Center and marching along Preble Street to Monument Square in downtown Portland.

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