Park Homeless Persons' Memorial Day in Helena

A ceremony in remembrance of the homeless individuals who died over the last year was held on December 21, 2015 at Women's Park in downtown Helena. Dozens of advocates braved below freezing temperatures to commemorate the lives of recently deceased homeless persons in the community. The ceremony involved prayer, reading a list of names of homeless individuals who passed away, and sharing a cup of soup provided by God's Love emergency shelter.

[Photo 1: Community members gather to commemorate the homeless in front of trees in the snow]
Community members gather to commerate the homeless

The ceremony was part of National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day (, an annual event aimed to raise public awareness about homelessness in America. National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day takes place each year on the longest night of the year, December 21st.

The memorial honors the thousands of homeless people who have died and serves as a reminder of the hardships faced by people living without shelter. Similar events were held in communities across the nation.

Governor Steve Bullock provided remarks at the ceremony, noting that December 21stmarks the first day of the long, cold Montana winter season. He stated that while it is important to recognize and honor those who have passed away, hunger and homelessness are social problems that should not exist in our country and no one should die homeless.

[Photo 2: Governor Steve Bullock provides remarks at the ceremony, snow and trees in background]
Governor Steve Bullock provides remarks at the ceremony

YWCA Executive Director Kellie Goodwin McBride added that with the onset of winter weather, the homeless are at a heightened risk of freezing to death if they have no place to call home.

According to the most recent 2015 point-in-time estimates of homelessness, in Montana local communities reported a total 1,709 persons experienced homelessness, representing a 2.1 percent decline since 2014.

National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day (


Content Archived: January 24, 2017