Advocates for Winston-Salem’s homeless people gathered in downtown Wednesday for a memorial service in honor of those who died during the last year.

Speakers read a list of more than 25 people during the service at Samaritan Ministries, including one who died the previous night.

The service was part of National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, held annually on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. 

Vincent, a speaker who preferred to use only his first name, was once a client of Samaritan Ministries but has worked to overcome mental health and addiction problems. He now works for the organization.

Vincent gave thanks for the local help provided to the homeless community.

“The sad truth is that a lot of people will die because of this [homelessness]," he says. "The more we show support, it may not seem like it’s working, but lives are being changed.”

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines read a proclamation declaring the day as Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in the city.

  • Bobby Kimbrough

    Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough was among those who read a list of names of the homeless people who had died. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

  • stars on a tree

    Organizers decorated a tree with names of people honored during the service. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

  • person with stars on tree

    After the service, organizers encouraged people to take any of the stars from the tree to remember those who died. Brianne Ferguson, a homeless outreach worker, removes a star commemorating someone she knew. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

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