National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day on the first day of winter remembers those in the homeless community who have died the previous year. The day reminds us to honor them and remember the life they lived. 

Homelessness is a year-round concern for many. Winter increases the anxiety associated with finding shelter. During the holidays, the media focus their attention on raising awareness and improving opportunities. It’s an ideal time to garner a public forum for the issue, and local groups are encouraged to seek out and work with their local media outlets to publicize the event.

From state to state, the quality and availability of homeless shelters vary. The number of homeless in each state will vary as well. However, according to, 553,742 people experience homelessness on a given night. Unsheltered homelessness is increasing.  

Many of their families don’t know where they are. When they become sick or injured and they die in an ER or in the street, their families don’t know. Sometimes, they left for a reason or had nowhere else to go. No matter what their story was, they deserve a ceremony to remember them.

HOW TO OBSERVE #HomelessPersonsRemembranceDay

The day encourages local groups across the country to determine the number of homeless persons in their community who died in the previous year. Arrange a ceremony to remember them. Candlelight marches, vigils, graveside services, plays and performances, religious services, and public policy advocacy are the suggested ways of remembering. Some groups have read publicly a list of names of the deceased. Use #HomelessPersons’RemembranceDay to post on social media.


Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council have sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day to bring attention to the plight of the nation’s homeless population and to encourage the public to act on their behalf.

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
202-462-4822; fax: 202-462-4823

Homeless FAQ

Q. What causes homelessness?
A. Many factors can come together to cause a person or family to become homeless. Violence in the home, addiction, mental illness, or living paycheck to paycheck can all be a prescription for homelessness.

Q. Is there a solution to homelessness?
A. Communities and governments have taken several approaches to solve the issue of homelessness. Some communities have taken a Housing First approach. Housing first policies support individuals and families from shelter to transitional to permanent housing. Having an address where one is safe and secure is a foundation of beginning again. Another method of addressing homelessness is called the “systems approach.” This method requires the coordination of services, programs, and services to reduce or prevent homelessness. Some of the areas in this coordinated effort include housing, healthcare, education, treatment programs, and more.

December 21, 2019
Check back in 2031 for a date change.