Vigil remembers those who've died homeless

Published: Dec. 13, 2013 at 2:45 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - About 50 people gathered in Marion Square to remember those who likely passed away without the support of loved ones.

"When someone passes away and they're homeless, they likely did not have a funeral or any sort of memorial service so this is a very small way to make sure that no one has gone forgotten," Crisis Ministries CEO Stacey Denaux said.

The service agency held the memorial service in honor of 54-year-old Joyce Brook and 52-year-old Mikell Felder.

According to point-in-time count by, 6,035 homeless people living in South Carolina this past January.  The figure represents a 28 percent increase from 2011.

"Many of whom have nowhere to turn, may have lost touch with family and are really looking for a place to come to start rebuilding their life," Denaux said.

More than 1,200 people are serviced by Crisis Ministries, and 200,000 meals are served each year. The agency is currently raising $1.7 million dollars towards the completion of a new men's shelter near the existing campus in downtown Charleston.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard says he is also working to combat homelessness in South Carolina.  He sponsored a bill that would require counties to publish and distribute a document showing places a person may go for shelter, healthcare and food.

"Instead of telling that person just to move along, or even in some cases, having to incarcerate the person, why not give them the booklet with the important information … that's what's important is to give them hope," Gilliard said.

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