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Memorial honors those who suffered from life on the streets

For generations, Friends of Night People in the Allentown community has been a symbol of a hot meal, warm and dry clothing and an array of the help needed by the city’s homeless population. On Monday, during the longest night of the year, the organization recalled those whose lives were lost in 2020.

"They are not forgotten. We remind others who are out here we will not forget them," said activist Hy Carrel.

"We’re here to remind others that we need to change the systems and we need to make it so no one dies alone on the street."

Nearly four dozen people have died in the last year. Some were finally housed but their health was so bad living inside just wasn’t enough to save their lives.

"The simple matter is that we all care and love everyone because everyone is entitled to dignity, love and respect," said Pastor Michael Robinson.

"It shouldn’t matter what color you are. It shouldn’t matter who you love or how you love. It really shouldn’t matter how you spell the place where you came from, what you did or someone did to cause a person to be homeless."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.