Stephanie Kaple hopes one day this event will become unnecessary.
As executive director of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, which houses the homeless, Kaple will once again help put on a graveside memorial for those who died in the Florida Keys during 2017 without a proper home.
“Certainly after Hurricane Irma we’re dealing with a lot of housing and homeless issues,” Kaple told Key West city commissioners this week. “Sadly, the help we try to offer doesn’t come soon enough and they do pass away without a place to call home.”
Kaple urged the commissioners to attend the memorial. “Join us on Dec. 21, publicly take a stand and publicly say, we want this to end and we will work tirelessly until we have no reason to hold this event.”
Homeless Persons Memorial Day will be marked in Key West at 3 p.m. Dec. 21, the longest night of the year, at the city cemetery. Ushers will direct guests from the main gate at the Sexton’s House. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at Peace Covenant Church, 2610 Flagler Ave. For information, call the FKOC at (305) 295-7741.
Monroe County Social Services teams up with the FKOC each year to host the event. The cremated remains of the homeless, listed as paupers in county paperwork, will be placed in a vault at the cemetery.
“For many of us, we’re going to bed with worries on our mind,” Kaple said. “We fall asleep pretty quickly because we have a bed to sleep in. For those on the streets, that’s not a luxury they get, and they live with those worries all night.”
“By remembering those who have died on the streets the cause of ending homelessness is kept urgent; as is the community’s collective commitment to preventing such deaths in the future,” according to the city of Key West’s proclamation, presented at the City Commission’s Dec. 5 meeting at City Hall.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen