Duluth homeless people who died in 2017 are honored through vigi - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Duluth homeless people who died in 2017 are honored through vigil

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On the steps of city hall Saturday, during a time rich with holiday customs, an annual event was held. But this one wasn't as happy as so many.

"I think it's really important to recognize all of the people that have lost their lives, either because they're homeless, or they were previously homeless. I just think it's critical," said Lynn Goerdt. 

Each year, just before the Christmas holiday, CHUM holds a candlelight vigil to remember the homeless people they helped, who died, as well as the advocates. This this year, that was 35 homeless people with an average age of just 47 years old. 

"It's important to recognize each and every person as a beloved child of God, and they are lost to us too young," said Lee Stuart, the executive director of Churches United in Ministry (CHUM). 

CHUM is a faith based non-profit based organization in Duluth that assist those who are homeless and poverty stricken. At Saturday's ceremony the names of each person was read aloud, and a candle was lit in their honor.

"It reaffirms for me the importance of community, and the importance of our work," said Stuart.  

More than 100 people filled the steps of city hall, many who had no connection to those who have died. 

"A lot of people didn't have their family and friends here and so, we get to step in on their behalf and say that we cared about them and we are sorry that they've passed," said Goerdt.  

While remembering the past, the day was also about looking toward the future. Goerdt said, "I just think we all have a responsibility to address homelessness, and it's possible. It's not like it's inevitable, it's possible." 

A similar ceremony was held in the Twin Cities this week where more than 150 homeless people from the metro area who died were also remembered. 

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