Reflection: National Homeless Memorial Day

December 21, 2020: National Homeless Memorial Day

Tonight is the winter solstice - the longest, darkest night of the year. When you're homeless and vulnerable, every night can seem like the longest.

Despite the winter weather, some still choose to stay outdoors. Our Outreach teams persevere day and night, on foot and by van, checking on each person, many by name.

Today, we remember Tom. He lived outdoors, resisting invitations to come inside to shelter. But we never gave up on him. We checked on Tom each day, for years, as his health began to decline.

One night, Tom had a change of heart. He was ready to accept Pine Street’s offer to come inside. Tom went to sleep that night in a bed in the warmth of our Men’s Inn. That night, he died unexpectedly, yet peacefully.

Tom's death affected all of us. At the same time, we were so grateful to have given Tom the opportunity to pass with dignity.

Today is for Tom, and every person who passes without a home. We have come so far, and yet even one homeless man or woman is one too many.

Thank you for being a part of our Pine Street community and helping us end homelessness in Boston.