Vigil Held to Remember the Homeless

A special vigil was held Tuesday night to remember those who have lost their lives while living on the streets.

Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has organized an annual nationwide memorial for all the homeless who've lost their lives while on the streets. Every year the Tallahassee Coalition for the Homeless takes part in the vigil at Carter Howell Strong Park.

Kay Freeman of the Tallahassee Coalition for the Homeless says, "It's very important and it's symbolic that we're out here at this particular park. A number of years ago someone bet a homeless man he couldn't swim across this lake. He took the bet and drowned."

While the National Coalition is reporting a decrease in the number of homeless deaths, the local coalition says this year in Tallahassee the number has gone up.

Arika Beachy, an advocate for the homeless, says, "The list of people we're here to memorialize is long. It's really important to recognize the people who have lost their lives."

Kay Freeman adds, "Last year it was about 10 or 12 people. This year it's up to 14."

But the coalition says there is a bright spot in the future for the local homeless.

Kay Freeman says, "I think our community needs to continue to pull together and address these issues. Between the efforts of the city and the Hope Community, we will be able to make a dent."

While there is no official way to access just how serious the homeless problem is, the coalition says locally the plan is to end it for good. The annual memorial event is held on the first night of winter every year, which is typically one of the longest nights of the year.