Homeless memorial adds 1,000th name

One person speaks while dozens more and a few TV cameras listen.
The Rev. Dr. Alison Falby, the priest-in-charge of All Saints, Sherbourne Street, speaks to a crowd outside the Toronto Homeless Memorial.
 on March 1, 2020
Michael Hudson

Many Anglicans were among the nearly 200 faith leaders, advocates, frontline street workers and community members who gathered outside Holy Trinity, Trinity Square at noon on Jan 14. As happens every month, the names of those who died without a home that month were read out; for the first time ever, the list now numbers more than 1,000. The Rev. Dr. Alison Falby remembered two of the recently deceased as parishioners of All Saints, Sherbourne Street – Ugo (Victor) Milani, a gentle musician who enjoyed cooking and gardening, and Dorothy Larsen, a 68-year-old woman, only recently homeless, who had knit a hat for the new baby of one of All Saints’ staff.

Indigenous activist Cathy Tsong Deh Kwe is part of the Giwaabamin Street Patrol, which means “I see you” in Anishnabemowin. She reminded attendees of the importance of truly seeing the person in need when they notice a homeless person on the street. As we remember each person who has died, may our eyes also be opened to see those who are still alive and in need of shelter, support, and love, she said.

After the memorial, participants, led by street nurse Cathy Crowe, marched to City Hall where they read the full list of 1,000 names and presented a petition signed more than 25,000 people urging the city to create 2,000 shelter beds and prioritize affordable housing. Participants then staged a “die-in” in front of the mayor’s office, among 1,000 cut-outs representing each homeless life lost.


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