Ceremonies marking the past year’s homelessness-related deaths took place in eight local communities on the longest nights of the year.  “Homeless Memorial Day” events were held in Nashua and Portsmouth on December 20 and in Concord, Laconia, Keene, Newport, Manchester, and White River Junction on December 21.

Fifty people, including New Hampshire's new Episcopal Bishop, attended the program in front of the State House in downtown Concord.

“The longest night of the year, which also marks the official beginning of winter, is an appropriate time to remember the lives of our sisters and brothers whose deaths were in some way related to the fact that they did not have secure housing,” said Maggie Fogarty, Coordinator of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Economic Justice Project, who organized the Concord event.

The events included readings of the names of 34 people whose deaths in 2012 were related to homelessness and a reading of a proclamation issued by Governor John Lynch.   

(Click here for a video of the reading of the names.)

"Difficult economic times and a shortage of both rental and single-family housing stock makes housing inaccessible to increasing numbers of New Hampshire residents, many of whom are working full-time," noted Governor Lynch, who urged “all citizens to work together to provide those in need in our community with access to a safe, warm place to stay.”

The Homeless Memorial Day events included: 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nashua5 pm to 6 pm,  In front of the Main Street Methodist Church, 154 Main Street, Nashua.  Contact:  Eileen Brady, NSKS, eileen@nsks.org

Portsmouth5:30 pm.  Starting at Vaughn Mall and walking to Prescott Park.  Contact:  Susan Turner, Rockingham County Community Resource Network, 603 969-5318.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Concord 4 pm.  In front of the State House.  Contact:  Maggie Fogarty, AFSC (603)224-2407 or mfogarty@afsc.org.

White River Junction VT5 pm.  Candlelight Vigil for Homelessness Awareness, Lawn of the Upper Valley Haven, Hartford Avenue.  Coats and Blankets will be collected at the Haven on Dec 20 and Dec 21.  Contact: Joie Finley Morris, Tri-County CAP Homeless Programs, 603.443.6150

Laconia:  5:30 pm.  Veterans Park.  Contact:  Len Campbell, NHCC, lcampbell@nh-cc.org

Keene:  5:30 pm, Keene Common, Church bells will ring for 5 minutes at the start and a procession to the shelter at the end.  Contact:  Don Primrose, dprimrose@hundrednights.org

Newport 6 pm.  Vigil on the Common, followed by a soup and bread supper at Epiphany Church ("The Stone Church") and an 8 pm "Blue Christmas service at Epiphany Church.  Contact:  Alice Roberts (603)863-1786/

Manchester:  6 to 7 pm.  Veterans Park.  Contact:  Gerald Goncalo gjgoncalo@yahoo.com.