SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A memorial service was held in San Jose Thursday for the homeless men and women who died on the streets in Santa Clara County this year.

There were 61 homeless deaths in the area in 2011, which is 10 more than in 2010. Jenny Niklaus, CEO of EHC Lifebuilders, the largest shelter provider in the county, said that it’s important that those who died on the streets be remembered.

”They aren’t anonymous. They aren’t just forgotten. They’re here. They lived, and they will be memorialized forever in our garden, outside in our courtyard,” said Niklaus. “We’ve had headstones out there since 1999, and family members come and look for their names every year.”

The names of each of the 61 victims were read aloud at the ceremony Thursday.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Robert, who has been living on the streets, said that most people don’t have any idea how tough it is, especially during the winter months.

”In San Jose it gets really windy and it rains a lot,” said Robert. “There are some people who are out there still. If anyone out there who has any means of resources as far as clothes, food, sleeping bags or tents, bring that to the EHC because it can all be used.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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