HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Thursday night, people gathered at the fountain behind Hattiesburg City Hall for a candlelight vigil to remember all the homeless people who died this year.
"Just because they don't have a house doesn't mean they are not a viable part of the community," Kim Townsend said.
To remember those who died homeless in the past year, a candle was lit in their memory. National Homeless Person's Memorial Day was localized in Hattiesburg on the longest night of the year, Dec. 21.
"As a coalition, we work together to hopefully prevent people from dying on the street. We don't want that," said Townsend. "We are working towards providing services for them, whether that be housing, food, or just basic needs so they can reach stability."
Townsend is the homeless coordinator for the City of Hattiesburg, She works closely with the Pine Belt Coalition on Homelessness. Their mission is to help stabilize the homeless in our community.
Right now, more than 500,000 people are homeless across the nation. More than 100 are living on the streets in the Pine Belt.
"It's the whole point of what we do. Seeing them as human beings that may be in need of a little help. May be in need of a little TLC," Townsend said.
The vigil was organized by the City of Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt Coalition on Homelessness.