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Marchers honored 158 Minnesotans who died homeless in 2014

Despite an improving economy, the 30th annual march and vigil honored even more homeless people who died than the year before.

A march and vigil to honor homeless Minnesotans who died in 2014 paid respects to 158 individuals Thursday night.

That’s at least 10 more than were honored in 2013’s event, and included some former homeless people who died of violence or accidents.

The march began at the downtown Hennepin County Government Center and proceeded to Simpson United Methodist Church in south Minneapolis. A community dinner followed at Simpson’s shelter.

About 200 people attended the event, including Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

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Organizers say the event provides honor and dignity to those who died under difficult circumstances, and might not otherwise have a fitting memorial.

Dana Melius wrote in the St. Peter Herald about past annual marches, calling them among “the most moving experiences I’ve witnessed in decades of affordable housing and anti-poverty advocacy work.”

He said: “…the respect and dignity each homeless person who has died during 2014 receives is important. And it’s emotional, as names are read and candles lit in their memory.”