Living and Dying on the Streets; Tallahassee Remembers

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Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:28 p.m.

Beside a large pond in Tallahassee's Frenchtown neighborhood, residents gathered to remember people like Carolyn Mains and Eddie Butts. They're among 12 people who lived and died on Tallahassee's streets this year.

"These are spirits and these are human beings and they're not just a number," said Kim O'Connor, who participated in a vigil for the homeless Thursday night.

Martha Crawford says they all deserve to be remembered.

"These are many desperate people who are living on the street and because of our mild climate we don't realize how hard it is to be on your feet walking all day."

Mel Eby who runs Tallahassee's homeless shelter says the homelessness crisis is at its worst.

“A lack of affordable housing has caused more families to be homeless than we've ever seen before, more senior citizens are here than ever like 40 a night are over age 60."

The Shelter is bursting at the seems. All the beds are full and so are the grounds outside. For those sleeping on the cold concrete, they at least have a blanket and a warm meal.

Robert Murphy is thankful he's sleeping indoors.

"I spent a night or two outside one time and the very worst was coming to terms that it wasn't getting any better."

The only thing getting better for Murphy and the hundreds of other homeless is just seeing that their lives do matter and their spirits do shine even in the darkness.

The Shelter is low on donations. If you'd like to donate you can drop off donations at 444 West Tennessee Street. The Shelter is looking for blankets, jackets, toiletries and other necessities.