On Dec. 21, Glendale’s leading homeless services agency, Ascencia, will host a memorial service to remember the brothers and sisters who died this year experiencing homelessness.
National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day is an annual observance that takes place on the first day of winter, the longest night of the year, to raise awareness of the alarming number of deaths of people who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness every year. Ascencia will recognize them with dignity and respect by honoring them, as each human being’s life matters.
“The tragic truth is that every day in Los Angeles County, six people die while living on the streets,” Ascencia said in a statement.
Hosted by Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, this event provides an opportunity for the community to attend a service on the open grounds near Forest Lawn’s Memorial Park Museum Plaza. The memorial, which starts at 5 p.m., will be presided over by Deacon Ron Baker of Holy Family Catholic Church.
The service will hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the nine Ascencia clients who died in 2023. The clients who will be remembered include Tea Ashford, David Cody, Arash Fayaz, Karen Harutyunyan, Joshua Orejel, Santiago Palacio, Brian Schanel, Steven Shealy and Azkanaz Voskanian. Also being honored that day will be all of the unhoused Angelenos who passed away this year.
Participating in the service will be Ascencia Executive Director Laura Duncan, Ascencia Board President Bryan Longpre, Temple Sinai of Glendale member Daniel Heller and First United Methodist Church of Glendale senior pastor Angela Galanis Price.
Ascencia is respectfully asking the community members to consider bringing new blankets, hand-warmers, gloves, beanies and scarves to be collected for Ascencia’s teams to distribute while conducting street outreach and engagement.
State and local dignitaries are expected to attend to pay their respects and acknowledge the important work of Ascencia.
Sponsored by Pacific BMW & David L. Ho Jr., Forest Lawn Glendale, this annual memorial service is part of an ongoing effort by Ascencia to bring to the forefront the misconceptions of homelessness. For more information about Ascencia or any of its upcoming events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published in the December 16 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.