Ceremony remembers dozens who died in Wake County while homeless

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Thursday, December 22, 2022
Vigil in Wake County honors unhoused individuals who died in 2022
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Wake County vigil honors unhoused individuals who died in 2022

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.