WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – December 21 is widely known as the Winter Solstice, but to Project Hope it is National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. 

Each year the organization takes pride in putting on this annual event to remember those who passed away within the last year, while also experiencing homelessness. 

Wednesday night, Project Hope remembered the lives of fifteen individuals at Catholic Charities with anecdotes, poems, prayers and a candlelight vigil to do their part in giving people a good memory.  

Director Crystal Bauer says that the lack of treatment, good follow-up mental health care, and affordable housing in our area are causing death numbers to increase. 

”We’re hopeful that in the new year, you know, collectively as a group of people who provide services to those experiencing homelessness, we can work to change the laws and to remove some of the barriers that prevent people from getting into housing and sustaining it long-term. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Crystal Bauer – Director, Project Hope

In 2020, they grieved 22 people – which is the most they’ve ever had after seeing under a dozen in years prior. 

Although she does not think that homelessness will ever be eradicated, she believes that the numbers can be significantly reduced.