MEDIA RELEASE – 16 June 2023
For the first time the annual Homeless Memorial Service will be celebrated at a special ceremony in the heart of Sydney’s community at 6pm in Martin Place on Wednesday 21 June, 2023.
June 21 is the longest night of the year. The winter solstice brings darkness early and as the temperature drops, we will be reminded that over the last twelve months many people died silently, unnamed and unmourned on the streets of Sydney.
This public ceremony is an opportunity for the community to remember those lives and to grieve for all individuals who have died on the streets or in shelters over the past year. Because the terrible truth is that many homeless people who pass away are not commemorated. With Australian in the midst of a housing crisis and Sydney being the epicentre of that crisis, we fear the number will grow.
This year organisers are calling on all Local and State Governments to implement a uniform Code Red/ Code Blue emergency response protocol for rough sleepers in extreme weather events. Climate change has a disproportionate impact on homeless people. As the frequency of extreme weather events is expected to increase, governments and communities need to collaborate to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected.
Now in its third year, the Homeless Memorial Service is being held in Martin Place in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and everyone is welcome to become a part of this service. In addition to the general community, the Service also welcomes the friends, families, and carers of those that have sadly died, including the many outreach and health workers, volunteers, and other community workers that work with those experiencing homelessness.
The Service is being supported by a number of charities and community organisations, including the End Street Sleeping Collaboration, Catholic Cemeteries, the Wayside Chapel, and the Office of Justice & Peace. Two legendary community choirs will be on hand to perform – the Honeybees Choir and the Sydney Street Choir.
Event organiser and End Street Sleeping Director Dominic Sullivan said he was hoping for the broader community of Sydney to come out for the special service.
“This is a unique opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of those that died without a home, and often without a commemoration. Our aim is to remember them. The aim of the End Street Sleeping Collaboration is to bring attention to the plight experienced by so many people sleeping rough, and to ensure no-one should be living or dying on our streets. As a community we need to understand that homelessness is solvable.
Mr Sullivan said the service was an opportunity to acknowledge homeless victims and provide comfort and support to victims’ families and friends as well as all those affected including carers, outreach workers, volunteers, health workers and community workers.
“We also recognise the dedicated work undertaken by many community, not for profit and faith-based organisations helping those sleeping rough on the streets of Sydney’’
For more information: contact Dominic Sullivan 0417 255 388