Key West Mayor Craig Cates and City Commissioners Jimmy Weekley and Sam Kaufman proclaimed Dec. 21st National Homeless Persons Memorial Day during the December City Commission meeting.
For the past 18 years, the community has gathered to remember those men, women and children who have died homeless in Monroe County with this proclamation designating the longest night of the year in their honor.
At 3 p.m. on December 21st, the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and Monroe County social services will coordinate a prayer service at the Key West Cemetery and inter the remains of those who died homeless in Monroe County over the past year.
Stephanie Kaple, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, accepted the proclamation.
“Sadly, for some, the help we try to offer does not come soon enough,” said Kaple, “and they die without a home. We’re proud to partner with county social services to give them a final resting place.”
She urged the commissioners and the community attend the memorial and to take a stand against homelessness until there is no longer a reason to hold this annual memorial.
“December 21st is the longest night of the year,” she said. Many of us go to bed with worries on our minds, but we fall asleep pretty quickly because we have beds to sleep in. Those who live on the street, that’s not a luxury they enjoy, and they live with those worries all night long.”
This memorial falls on the heels of November’s national Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week. In accepting that proclamation, Kaple reminded the community that, while we are roasting turkeys and baking pies, there are too many members of our community who go hungry.