- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A vigil in Maine’s largest city is being held to honor more than 30 homeless people who’ve died this year.

Portland’s annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil takes place Monday evening near the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. It ends in Monument Square with the lighting of candles to honor those who’ve died.

Mark Swann, Preble Street executive director, said the current number stands at 35. He says the “heartbreaking statistic” is the highest in the 20 years that the event has been held.

Participants include people who are homeless and those who’ve been homeless, along with concerned citizens and advocates for the homeless. The event is sponsored by the city Health and Human Services Department, Mercy Hospital and Preble Street.

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