Homeless in subway

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Advocates Hold Christmas Vigil For NYC Homeless Who've Died

December 26, 2018 - 10:55 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – At a vigil Tuesday, advocates for the homeless remembered a woman who died 33 years ago on Christmas after she was forced out into the cold.

The woman became known as “Mama Doe” after she was kicked out of Grand Central Station on Christmas Eve in 1985. She died a day later on Christmas Day after succumbing to the harsh conditions outside.

A candlelight vigil was held inside the station this Christmas to remember her and all the homeless people who have died.

The Doe Fund’s Shannon Moriarty says since the woman’s death, her organization has helped tens of thousands find their way to stability through work.

“The organization was founded in the ‘80s, really as a response to homelessness in New York City, but it has really become sort of a reentry program for men coming out of prison,” she said.

Those men are often left helpless without the necessary skills to earn a living.

Moriarty said a report released just this month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found homelessness in the city was up 2.8 percent in 2018 over 2017.

“On days when we gather together with our loved ones, it’s important to remember that there are those who are not able to do that, because they do not have the stability and safety that comes with having a roof over their head,” Moriarty said.