On the morning of the year’s shortest day — and its longest night — an Indianapolis church’s bell tolled 72 times, once for each of the known Marion County homeless who have died this year, and once more for all whose deaths went unrecognized.
The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention held the annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service at Roberts Park United Methodist Church on Friday, commemorating lives lost in 2018 and keeping attention on people who still lack a place to call home.
“It’s a time for us to, I think, really remember those that don’t have somewhere to call home that night, that are going to be spending a very long night here in Indianapolis without somewhere to go,” Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the coalition’s executive director, told IndyStar.
This year’s point-in-time count — a one-night count of the city’s homeless population, sheltered and unsheltered — reached nearly 1,700 in Indianapolis, though that number can fluctuate throughout the year. That included 128 families and more than 250 children, according to the organization.
At one time, that included 57-year-old Michael Schwing, who shared his story with those in attendance at Friday’s memorial.