Seattle’s #Homeless Remembrance Project. Unique Memorial.

Women in Black

Women in Black

After 13 years of standing in the cold, wet rain 400 times to honor the passing of one of Seattle’s  homeless people, Women in Black and WHEEL (Women’s Housing and Equality Enhancement League) dedicated a permanent memorial to remember the homeless people who lived and died in Seattle.  Artists Clark Wiegman, Karen Kiest and Kim Lokan created the “Tree of Life” sculpture with missing leaves.  Bronze leaves with the names of the deceased Seattle citizens have been “scattered in the wind” to various places in the city.


Karen Marie Boyle 1962—2007

Victor Steinbrueck Park, the location of the sculpture, overlooks Puget Sound at the center of Seattle tourism.  Many homeless people, especially the very hardcore street people, spent their days in the park.   The location re-enforces Seattle self image as a city that cares about others.  And the fact of the memorial itself gives dignity to the lives of people without a consistent home.

The Homeless Remembrance Project maintains a website, Leaves of Remembrance,  to document the homeless people that have died in the Seattle area.  The oddest part of the website is the lack of information about many people.  No picture.  No story.  Just a name with date of birth (maybe) and death.  Just like an old graveyard.


Tree of Life

Tree of Life Dedication, October 2012

Tree of Life2

Tree of Life

Delores Beamon Leaf

Delores Beamon Leaf

Other Memorials  (Please comment with other links)………………………………….. 

“National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day”
Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has encouraged memorial services across the USA on December 21. In 2011, 157 communities across the United States held “National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day” events.

Baltimore Memorial on December 21, 2010.  Keeping shoes is very important to street persons.

Baltimore Memorial on December 21, 2010. Keeping shoes is very important to street persons.

Boulder, Colorado, Memorial- Service in 2011

Anthony Neighbors remembers those from the homeless community that passed during the annual memorial held at the Central Park Bandshell in Boulder on Wednesday, December 8, 2011. (MARK LEFFINGWELL / CAMERA)

Fresno Homeless Memorial by Ray Polk under I-41 Overpass


Ray Polk has made 77 markers with plans for 23 more. Polk can tell you a story about each of the deceased homeless people who are often known by a nickname or by their first name. Tomas Ovalle Photography

Toronto Homeless Memorial


A memorial service held on the second Tuesday of each month at 12:15 outside the south door of Holy Trinity at 10 Trinity Square, Toronto, Canada


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  1. says

    Thanks for taking the time to write about our project & for starting up Aesthetic Grounds again.
    Your keen eye & incisive commentary are greatly appreciated!

    While the Homeless Remembrance Project tries to draw attention to an ongoing national tragedy, the subtext here is the disgrace of such unnecessary poverty in a land of plenty.
    We look forward to the day when a child will be able to visit our memorial & experience it as some relic of another barbaric time.
    Until that day, we continue laying leaves.