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Remembering Minnesotans Who Died Homeless: 30th Annual Services

PHOTO: The 30th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service is set for this evening, honoring people in the state who died this year while homeless. Photo credit: Simpson Housing Services.
PHOTO: The 30th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service is set for this evening, honoring people in the state who died this year while homeless. Photo credit: Simpson Housing Services.
December 18, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - As Minnesota prepares to enter a new year, those who died in the state over the past 12 months while homeless are being remembered tonight. The 30th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service is organized by Simpson Housing Services.

While it will be held in Minneapolis, executive director Steve Horsfield notes, those being remembered were from all parts of the state.

"The event is a respectful memorial for those members of our community that were lost in the past year who have experienced homelessness or were currently homeless at the time of their passing, as well as a handful of advocates for the homeless community," Horsfield says.

Tonight's memorial, according to Horsfield, will start will a silent march, followed by a service in which the names of each of the 150 people who died will be read aloud.

While those who end up homeless in Minnesota come from all walks of life, and cities big and small, what most had in common is the mental and physical hardships of the hard road. Horsefield says those being remembered tonight passed away on average before the age of 50, compared to the normal lifespan of around 80.

"Having been homeless either now or in the past takes such a toll on a person, in terms of stress and health," he says. "It's taking 30 years on average off the life of a Minnesotan."

According to the most recent statewide survey, the homeless population numbers more than 10,000, about a third of whom are children with their parents.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN