WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 20, 2010, 09:46 AM

Memorial raises awareness about those who die homeless

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There is concern tonight for the large number of homeless in the metro who continue to endure a tough winter so far. The F-M Coalition for Homeless persons today announced recent surveys indicate 14-Homeless people have died so far this year.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

With shelters full, some are living in storage units, even cars and vans. This as Fargo-Moorhead marks National Homeless Memorial Day Tuesday, which raises awareness about those who die homeless. An outdoor art display sculpted with snow will be the centerpiece of the memorial downtown at 5 tomorrow night.

MICHAEL CARBNOND Coalition for Homeless People: “These 21 who died had histories, faces, and names, and futures cut short.”

Our winter weather has all shelters in Fargo-Moorhead tonight at capacity and many living in shelters are working, but are living paycheck to paycheck with no home to their name.

For the most part, Churches United for the Homeless empties out during the day with people off to their jobs. A few line up for the noon meal. One of them is 41-year old Rikki Lyn. The mother of two lost her home and was forced into horrible living conditions.

RIKKI LYNLiving at Shelter: “Live in my storage unit. They are not supposed to be inhabited by people, but you have to live somewhere.”

Today, 45 students from Hawley Elementary volunteered at the shelter. They brought blankets, sorted thru clothing, and got their first glimpse at homelessness and shelters.

VICTORIA PETERSONHawley Student: “It kind of wowed me because I know I have a lot and they don't have as many things as I do.”

Shayna SyversonHawley Student: “Kind of weird and different because they don't have a home and they don't get all the stuff we do.”

The Homeless Coalition talked about three big unmet needs right now: Lack of beds for homeless families, mental health issues, and the lack of a place for homeless to go during the day when shelters are closed.

LAURIE BAKERFM Coalition for Homeless: “A director says one gentleman is sleeping in a partially insulated van he is heating with a wood stove.”

The snow is a reminder tonight that during this week of giving, many will go without the very basics. Churches United was full last night with 63 people staying at the shelter.