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Honoring Lives and Inspiring Change: Homeless Persons' Memorial Day

At the Siena Francis House in Omaha, Homeless Persons Memorial Day served as a poignant tribute to the 113 lives lost to homelessness in 2023. Kitty A. Amaya, HUD’s Nebraska Field Office Director, led the eulogy at the ceremony, acknowledging the complexity of homelessness and emphasizing the need for collective action. Management Analyst Seth Martin honored those we have lost by placing one lit luminary, representing a single individual tragically lost to homelessness in the past year.

In her remarks, Amaya highlighted that those we remember were not just statistics but members of a community. She addressed systemic challenges such as poverty, mental health struggles, and the urgent need for affordable housing, urging a shared commitment for real change.

Special recognition was given to the six veterans among those that departed over the year, emphasizing a debt of gratitude beyond their military service. Amaya encouraged celebrating the resilience and human spirit that defined these lives, noting their triumphs amid tribulations.

As attendees left the memorial event, Amaya called for a renewed commitment to creating a community where homelessness is not accepted. “Let the memory of those 113 lives fuel our collective efforts to ensure that everyone has a place to call home, that compassion prevails, and that the promise of a brighter future becomes a reality for all,” said Amaya in her closing.

On December 21, 2023, may those remembered on this day rest in peace, and may their memory inspire positive change in our community.