[PRESS RELEASE] Upper Valley Haven Hosts Annual Memorial Candlelight Vigil for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in the Upper Valley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Spencer Sanders, (802) 478-1806 or
Upper Valley Memorial Candlelight Vigil for People Experiencing Homelessness
Upper Valley Haven, LISTEN, and Capstone Community Action host event to commemorate Vermont and New Hampshire residents who passed away while experiencing homelessness in 2022.
White River Junction, VT – The Upper Valley Haven will host its annual Memorial Candlelight Vigil to honor the people who died this year who have experienced homelessness in Vermont and New Hampshire. Members of the public and Haven Board of Directors and staff will gather on the longest night of the year at the Upper Valley Haven to reflect on the trauma and mortal risk that comes with being unhoused. The ceremony will include a reading of names, a tribute to their lives and the reading of An Obituary for a Homeless Man.
This national event began in 1990 to bring awareness to the predicament of the country’s individuals who are experiencing homelessness. It is memorialized every year on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, to encourage the public to advocate for policy change on the behalf of the lives lost and those who are currently unhoused. Jennifer Fontaine, Director of Finance and Food Programs, at the Haven shared, “When I started at the Haven in 2008, this event was held in the Upper Valley only in Lebanon, in front of the church next to the fire station, with a small group of people. In 2010, we started holding our own in WRJ on our campus, inviting more people to participate. We have held one here in WRJ every year since, including in 2020, when it was held on Zoom due to the pandemic.” Last year, the Haven returned to an in-person event. This important day is not only a reminder of the lives who have passed, but also an appeal for change. For many of the names called, it will be the only remembrance they receive.
Michael Redmond, Executive Director of the Haven added, “The solutions to homelessness are out there. It is not more shelters, though they help save lives. We need more permanent, affordable housing with service supports. It is the hope of the Haven and the other sponsors of this event that this honor provides those in attendance and the wider community the chance to reflect on the plight and trauma that being unhoused inflicts on individuals, families, and communities and how we can end it.”
The Haven welcomes its neighbors, community partners, friends, people who are unhoused and local officials to come out on December 21st to join with us in this moment of remembrance.
The vigil will be held at 713 Hartford Ave, White River Junction, VT on Wednesday, December 21st at 4:30 pm.
About the Upper Valley Haven
The Upper Valley Haven is a private, nonprofit organization that celebrated its 40th year anniversary in 2021. With the support of the UV community, the Haven assists those who are experiencing poverty to be free from hunger, securely housed, and to pursue a self-directed life.
The Haven operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and never charges for any services. The Upper Valley Haven serves more than 14,000 people annually.