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News :: Education : Human Rights : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Remembering the Homeless Vigil
03 Jan 2006
On December 21st, community residents gathered to remember 17 known people who died homeless in Worcester in 2005.
Across the United States December 21st is remembered as “the Longest Night”, the National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day promoted by the National Coalition for the Homeless ~ http://www.nationalhomeless.org .

Worcester remembered the following individuals;

Felix P. ~ Pedro A. ~ Edward G. ~ Robert P. ~ Wilfredo B. ~ Oscar A. ~ William S. ~ George S. ~ Linda B. ~ Dawn R. ~ Slayton M. ~ Edward O. ~ Christina W. ~ Peter R. ~ Thomas S. ~ Robert B. ~ Inga J.

This year’s event included a prayer vigil at Wesley United Methodist Church, somber procession to City Hall, reading of the names of those that died, call to action and midnight vigil. Worcester’s effort was organized in conjunction with over 100 other communities across the country as part of the “National Homeless Person Memorial Day”.
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Worcester’s remembrance began at Wesley United Methodist Church with a prayer service attended by more than 200 people. As David McCloskey, the Director of the PIP Shelter read the names of those that died homeless this past year, candles were lit and 17 community members were symbolically draped with blankets. After the reading of names, the church service at Wesley United Methodist Church formed into a somber procession to City Hall. In addition to the obligatory candles, procession members carried hand-painted cardboard signs, reflective of those so often used for panhandling. Signs could be seen that read; "Housing NOW!", "Target Poverty Not People", "Homes not Jails", Ayudemos a los Desamparados" and "People Over Profit".

At City Hall, Rabbi Jordan Millstein, along with Rev. Sarai Rivera and David McMahon welcomed the procession and supported the call to action that Worcester commit resources to implementing a community based plan to end homelessness. Many present have called for the implementation of the existing City Manager’s Commission on Homelessness Plan. Released in August, 2000, “Housing the Single Adult Homeless: The Worcester Plan” was developed by the Homelessness Commission which was comprised of City officials, representatives of local shelters, agencies and community residents. The Commission’s report proposes “a combination of assessment and case management services . . . short-term and long-term housing with supportive services provided on-site to provide real and lasting solutions that end the cycle of homelessness . . . . and expanded access to subsidized housing . . . . The PIP Shelter should be downsized and serve principally the substance abusing population and other subgroups should be served in specialized short-term housing with supports.”

Four years later in 2004, partially in response to national objectives, Worcester returned to the still unimplemented 5-year plan as the basis for creating a 10-year plan.

The 2004 plan, now called the, “Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Worcester” was voted and approved by the Homelessness Commission 15-1 with Billy Breault casting the lone dissenting vote. Breault and City Councilor Haller quickly released a dissenting report. Describing the two reports at the time, “Worcester Magazine reported” the disagreement as the divergence between the Commission’s recommendation “to pursue a “housing first” policy” while the dissenting Haller and Breault report focused on “preventive actions, such as stronger enforcement of drug law”.

And so the wait for Worcester City Hall to actively pursue a planned effort to address homelessness continues. While vigiler’s watched the T&G’s clock tick towards midnight on Franklin St. side of City Hall, others would occasionally glance up at the large billboard above Harrington Corner on Front St. which has been in place the past four months.

“Open the Doors: End Homelessness! Call city hall 508-799-1049”


The Longest Night Coalition was comprised of the Worcester Homeless Action Committee, Worcester Interfaith, Central MA Housing Alliance, Real Solutions, PIP Shelter, Community Healthlink; Dismas House, Jeremiah’s Inn, Willis Center.

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Translation into East New England Dialect
06 Jan 2006
On Decemba 21st, community residents gathid to rememba 17 known people who died homeless in Wusta in 2005.
Across the United States Decemba 21st is remembed as "the Longest Night", the National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day promoted by the National Coalition foah the Homeless ~ http://www.nationalhomeless.org.

Wusta remembed the following individuals:

Felix P. ~ Pedro A. ~ Edward G. ~ Robert P. ~ Wilfredo B. ~ Oscar A. ~ William S. ~ George S. ~ Linda B. ~ Dawn R. ~ Slayton M. ~ Edward O. ~ Christina W. ~ Peter R. ~ Thomas S. ~ Robert B. ~ Inga J.

This yeeah's event included a prayah vigil at Wesley United Methodist Church, sombah procession to City Hall, reading of the names of those that died, call to action and midnight vigil. Wusta's effort was organized in conjunction with ovah 100 othah communities across the country as paht of the "National Homeless Person Memorial Day."

[ Translation into local dialect provided in an effort to raise awareness of New England identity. ]