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December 17. 2013 10:56PM

Candlelight vigil set for homeless

PETERBOROUGH — On the longest night of the year, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter plans to hold a candlelight vigil again for National Homeless Memorial Day.

The vigil is planned for Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the steps of the Peterborough Town House.

"We're fairly new on the block in joining with Concord and Manchester and Keene and a lot of other towns and cities," said MATS Board of Trustees President Joan Foucher.

This is MATS' second annual vigil. Last year about 25 people turned out, Foucher said, adding that she hopes as the vigils continue the numbers will increase.

"I anticipate we will have a larger number of people coming out. People are recognizing the greater need particularly in housing," Foucher said. "There is definitely a need, and an increased need for both emergency shelters and for a place where people can transition and focus longer on transitioning and refocusing their lives."

The winter equinox also marks the opening of emergency cold weather shelters like Hundred Nights in Keene that are only open in winter.

The vigils held across the country mark National Homeless Memorial Day, which honors those who have died due to homelessness and hardship over the past year, Foucher said. Over the course of 2013 29 homeless people died in New Hampshire.

"So we have a list of 29 people and a little bit about each one to read Saturday night to honor them," Foucher said.

MATS was founded in 1991 by a group of concerned residents and serves the towns of the Greater Monadnock Region. The shelter also accepts referrals from other shelters throughout the tri-state area. MATS' mission is to provide transitional housing, support, and referral services to people who are homeless as well as to educate the community on issues of homelessness; and to advocate for solutions.

mpierce@newstote.com


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