Annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service Set for Hyannis

HYANNIS – The Hyannis Federated Church will be hosting the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service in honor of the men and women who have died in 2019 while experiencing homelessness.

“The Memorial Service is an opportunity for the community to come together with the homeless community and celebrate the lives of the people we have lost over the past year and the people who have experienced homelessness,” said Pamela Wannie, Spiritual Care Provider at Duffy Health Center.

Duffy Health Center is one of many local organizations sponsoring the event alongside Cape Cod Council of Churches, Cape Cod Synagogue, and others.

Wannie said the memorial will feature the names of every individual lost during the year, rather than the memorial being a generalized service.

“It’s really important just thinking about how we speak about people who are experiencing homelessness. They’re people first—they’re not homeless people—they’re people who are experiencing homelessness,” Wannie said.

The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council traditionally hold the event close to the longest night of the year to remember the harsh temperatures the people experiencing homeless face in the winter months, though this year the event is a couple days earlier.  

“Often, these people have died because they’re out in the elements. Their lives are shortened because of the homelessness they’ve experienced,” said Wannie.

Nineteen people have died in 2019 while experiencing homelessness in the community.

“It’s truly heartbreaking that people’s lives have been lost and their lives have been shortened because of inadequate housing, because they’re not able to get their basic needs met,” said Wannie.

“But I am grateful that we have the opportunity to come together and honor and celebrate these people whose lives have been lost, because they were somebody’s child, somebody’s spouse, somebody’s sibling. It’s important that we celebrate that they were alive and made an impression on this earth.”

The memorial will begin at 5pm on Thursday, December 19 at the Hyannis Federated Church on Main Street, Hyannis. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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