Helena’s Longest Night Memorial Service commemorates 17 people who died while homeless

The Longest Night Memorial was held Wednesday night at the Capitol rotunda. The memorial service is for those who have died from persistent homelessness and being unsheltered. Seventeen names were read at the memorial. Erin Vang played the French horn and read “Kaddish” by Lev Kogan at the memorial.

GARY MARSHALL, BMGphotos.com

It was -18 degrees outside when Helena’s Longest Night Memorial Service started, and it was 3 degrees colder by the time the observance ended.

The Longest Night Memorial Service commemorates the lives of the 17 people who died in Helena this past year because of persistently experiencing homelessness or being unsheltered.

The service was held inside the Capitol rotunda Wednesday as the sun was getting ready to set around 4:30 p.m., saying goodbye to the shortest day of the year. In the past, it has been held outside so people can experience for about an hour what unhoused people are subjected to for hours on end. 

“Tonight as we gather in our people’s house, there are some of our neighbors simply struggling to keep their fingers and toes warm, struggling

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