While the winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, every night is long for those experiencing homelessness, particularly in the bitterly cold months.
On Thursday 20 June, the winter solstice will again serve as the symbolic date for the annual Homeless Memorial to remember all those who have lost their lives while struggling for survival.
Everyone is invited to attend the event at the Peanut Farm Reserve, corner of Chaucer Street and Shakespeare Grove, St Kilda, from 4.30 to 7 pm.
The Memorial is organised by STAR Health in partnership with Port Phillip Council and other organisations including Port Phillip Community Group, Salvation Army Crisis Services, Sacred Heart Mission, Launch Housing and Prahran Mission. Community members have also provided strong support since the Memorial began in 2001.
The poignant gathering begins with a traditional smoking ceremony and a warming serve of soup, followed by musical performances and remembrances from locals.
Mayor Dick Gross said the Memorial is an important reminder of the terrible human cost of homelessness.
“While many of us take for granted the roof over our heads, we must always remember those lost to homelessness,” Cr Gross said.
“This inclusive ceremony is an important way of recognising this tragic loss as a community, while sending a message of love and support to those currently experiencing hardship,” Cr Gross said.
A range of services are available in Port Phillip for people experiencing homelessness, including the Salvation Army, Sacred Heart Mission and Launch Housing.