Throughout the day and evening of Monday, Dec. 21, the Cape community is invited to honor the memory of men and women who died in 2020 having experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. The Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service is an opportunity to remember these local individuals who have been a part of our Cape community. So far this year, over 30 individuals known to have experienced homelessness have died.
The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council view Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day as an occasion to “remember those who have died and strengthen our resolve to work for a world where no life is lived or lost in homelessness” (nhchc.org). The event is traditionally held across the country on the longest night of the year in order to highlight the cold, harsh conditions faced by unsheltered people during the winter months.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s memorial will take place in socially distanced and virtual ways. From 9 am and into the evening of Dec. 21st, people are invited to walk a path in contemplation and prayer as they visit memorial signs that are placed in a socially distanced manner on the Hyannis Green. These signs, designed by the students of St. John Paul II High School, note the names of our neighbors who died this past year. A brief pre-recorded service that includes a reading of the names of those who have died can be accessed as of 9 am on Dec 21st, broadcast on the Cape Cod Synagogue’s YouTube channel Synagogue Events – YouTube. People can listen to this service as they visit the signs, or in a location of their choosing. Also, at 4p.m on Dec. 21st, the National Coalition for the Homeless will be broadcasting a national service via Zoom. Registration for this service is necessary at the following link: https://nationalhomeless.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qd-ChpjkiGNxe-l8q__kSdJ3f3iamZM2E.
Co-sponsors of this memorial include Barnstable Police Department’s Community Impact Unit, Cape Cod Council of Churches, Cape Cod Synagogue, Champ Homes, Duffy Health Center, Federated Church of Hyannis, Housing Assistance Corp (HAC), South Congregational Church and “Here Now Ministries”, St. John Paul II High School, Team M25, Vinfen and the Youth StreetReach Program of the Council of Churches. This is truly a community effort and all are welcome to participate.