Memorial service remembers hundreds of Philly's homeless who died this year

Justin Udo
December 20, 2018 - 8:44 pm

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A time to remember homeless Philadelphians who have died.

Benjamin Mitchell is part of the Homeless Memorial Day committee, a position he calls sobering.

“I feel it's only right to take a moment out to remember those folks that I stood beside, that I ate with. That I slept with. That I lived in the street with,” he said.

Mitchell is now a certified peer specialist, and does volunteer work with the homeless.  

He says Thursday night's memorial service, at Arch Street United Methodist, gave him time to reflect on friends he's lost to the streets and just how far he's come.

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“The abandoned houses, the eating out of the trash, the humiliation of stinking and smelling,” he said. “I felt God was actually preparing me to have empathy and be able to assist other people in their plight.”

Mitchell says hopefully his story can help others so they too can find a better life than one on the streets.

“I'm not a finished product I'm still on my journey,” he said

During the memorial, attendees sang hymns, read the names of the 280 homeless and formerly homeless people who have died in 2018.