Group works to honor lives lost after King County sees record number of homeless deaths in 2022 – ` 7 News Seattle

SEATTLE — New data from the King County Medical Examiner shows a grim milestone in the country’s homelessness crisis. 310 people died while experiencing homelessness last year on King County streets.

Meanwhile, the Homeless Remembrance Project is working to ensure their lives aren’t forgotten by hosting vigils.

One of the lives they’ve helped honor is Trenton Harris, who was murdered last August.

“It was a senseless act. So we don’t even know why he was murdered,” said Jennifer Dobbins, Trenton’s mom.

She said he was known on the streets of Seattle as ‘Rex.’

“He was 30 years old. He had fiery red hair, hazel eyes. He was very loved,” said Dobbins.

He was one of the county’s 310 homeless that died last year — a tragic record.

“Unless there are drastic changes, there are going to be more this year. It’s gonna be worse,” said Anita Freeman with the Homeless Remembrance Project.

Freeman said this deadly trend has already carried over to 2023.

On Wednesday, the group came together to honor ‘Dumi’ Longwe, a man they didn’t know. He recently died outside the Ballard library from an overdose.

“We gather to do one of these vigils so that the person is not ignored or forgotten,” said Rev. Pat Simpson.

The women call themselves the “Women in Black.” They gather for vigils outside Seattle’s city hall. The group has met for more than 20 years.

Their impact is felt by family members like Dobbins.

“The Homeless Remembrance Project — I have so much love for them. They did a vigil for my son, and I didn’t even know about it,” said Dobbins.

In recent years the group’s vigils have become more frequent, but their mission remains. They’re dedicated to giving dignity to the unhoused and mitigating the growing homeless crisis.

“Our city, and cities around the county … nobody’s found the magic solution. It’s hard, long-term dedicated workers that are needed,” said Rev. Simpson.