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Advocates Gather Across N.H., Some Virtually, To Honor Lives Lost To Homelessness

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Screenshot via CMChealthsystem on YouTube
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Candles were lit in honor of those lost, as shown in this screenshot from a video shared by Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.

Each year, usually on or around the Winter Solstice, advocates in New Hampshire and across the country gather to observe Homeless Persons' Memorial Day.

This year, due to COVID-19 safety concerns, many of those gatherings have scaled back or gone virtual.

Normally, Catholic Medical Center's Health Care for the Homeless and other community advocates gather for a memorial ceremony at Veterans' Park. This year, that ceremony was replaced by a small, pre-recorded vigil to honor the 27 people in Manchester who died after experiencing homelessness this year. (Scroll down for a video from that ceremony.)

"In a year that has forced us to be apart, we gather together, mostly in spirit, to make sure that the ones we have lost are remembered," Amy Pratte, with Catholic Medical Center's Health Care for the Homeless, said in a recording of that event.

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Statewide, advocates with the American Friends Service Committee identified 60 New Hampshire residents "who died in 2020, whose lives were shortened by homelessness."

A mix of virtual and outdoor vigils were hosted elsewhere across the state Monday night. An in-person memorial is also scheduled for Tuesday evening at Henry Law Park in Dover.

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