Memorial remembers the passing of the homeless

They may not have been known, but the sad passing of those who live on the streets was not forgotten on a bitingly cold evening in Martin Place on June 21.

More than 100 people turned out for the Homeless Persons’ Memorial on the shortest day of the year – the winter solstice – to pay respect to those who have died while homeless.

Over 100 Sydneysiders at Martin Place for Memorial Service held on the Winter Solstice.

The memorial, now in its fourth year, is supported by community organisations and charities, including the PAYCE Foundation, the End Street Sleeping Collaboration, Archdiocese of Sydney’s Justice and Peace Office, Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria, and the St Vincent de Paul Society.

“We’re here tonight to love them, to know them, and to mourn them. Maybe their names aren’t known to all of us, but we are a people of faith,” said Fr Peter Smith in his opening blessing.

“Our city will never be the great place that it can be until we all reach out to those who are struggling, who are on the margins, those who find life most difficult.”

NSW Minister for Housing Rose Jackson, who also attended the Vinnies CEO sleepout the night before, told the crowd the death of citizens to homelessness “diminishes us all and is a grief to us.”

“They may not have had a fancy funeral or a big memorial service or their name up in lights when they passed, but that doesn’t mean that they were any less significant,” she said.

“We recommit ourselves to recognising their names, recognising their stories, understanding that it isn’t a personal failure to experience homelessness.

“That is a system failure, it’s a policy failure, and those things are in our control.”

NSW Minister for Housing Rose Jackson recognises those who have passed.

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