RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A somber ceremony took place in Raleigh in memory of the dozens of people in Wake County who died this year while experiencing homelessness.
A candlelight vigil and name-reading ceremony was held Wednesday night at South Wilmington Street Center, a men's shelter in south Raleigh.
The names of the 76 people, who died in 2022 were read aloud and a balloon was released for each person.
"I heard a guy over there in a little park had frozen on a bench now I was out there that same night, and I can say just alone I could have been right here," Wayne Eaton said who used to be homeless.
"We know that the safety warmth and refuge of housing is a fundamental right, but y'all, when minimum wage is $7.25 an hour but to afford a two bedroom a reasonable two bedroom in Wake County you need to make $24 dollars an hour, that human right becomes further away," Vanessa Kopp said of Wake County Housing.
More than 1,500 people were counted as homeless in this year's point-in-time count in Wake County.
That's up nearly 70% compared to last year.