Portland’s Annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil
In 2020, over 64 people in the Portland homeless community died. The youngest was 22 years old.
|Andy M.||Chris||Eric||Judy||Michael A.||Ryan||Zoe|
|Andy N.||Cristal||Gerald||Justin||Michael B.||Scottie|
|Anita||Daniel||James D.||Karen||Michael E.||Sean|
|Ashlea||Debra||James M.||Kevin||Michael P.||Shawn A.|
|Barbara||Dieudonne||Jane||Kim D.||Mysterious||Shawn B.|
|Beth||Dorothy F.||Jason||Kim H.||Neil||Shawn O.|
Every year on the Winter Solstice — the longest night of homelessness — a candlelight procession proceeds to Monument Square in Portland for a ceremony dedicated to those persons who have died in our community. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s vigil will be virtual, and includes a reflection from Grace Street Ministry, a reading of the names of the people who died, music from people experiencing homelessness, and more.
The life expectancy of our friends who endure chronic homelessness is 28 years shorter, on average, than that of people who are housed. The human toll of allowing these vulnerable neighbors to slip through the cracks is devastating.
These deaths are the result of a broken system. As a community, we must come together to provide affordable housing and more housing first programs, dignified shelter, and expanded services for physical and mental health and substance use disorders.
Together we will mourn the lives that were cut short, and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that everyone who needs a home finds one.
Members of the homeless community recorded these songs in honor of the people who died this year. Some clips were included in the vigil video, and the full songs can be heard below.