Helena’s ‘Longest Night’ service will honor those who died while homeless

INDEPENDENT RECORD

The Longest Night Memorial Service will be held 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Montana state Capitol rotunda in memory of those who have died while experiencing homelessness or home insecurity.

The public may attend.

This year’s event will be opened by Mike Jetty with a traditional Native American prayer song. It will include French horn music by Erin Vang and a service led by Montana Jewish Project’s Rebecca Stanfel.

Helena will join hundreds of cities nationwide in memorializing those lost this year. National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day takes place annually on the longest night of the year, Dec. 21.

“I think it’s appropriate that this year’s memorial may be held on what may be the coldest night of our year,” said Jenifer Gursky, executive director of YWCA Helena. “Our community has struggled to find a comprehensive and sustainable solution to keeping people housed. YWCA Helena is here to help ease the pressures our community feels because of the current housing crisis by providing supportive housing and supports for families in transition, but it’s been difficult to find safe and affordable housing for that next step. And that’s what we need to combat homelessness.”

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