Syracuse Police continue to investigate the death of a homeless woman last weekend. They're looking into claims the woman may have been assaulted just hours before she died. YNN's Bill Carey says the victim was remembered in a memorial service in a park near Franklin Square.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For the second time in less than a week, the homeless and the people who help the homeless were gathered for a memorial. This time, remembering Michelle Noce, found unconscious last weekend under a city bridge. She later died. Police are investigating the circumstances.
Noce may have been typical of those who wander the streets. She lived what might have been considered a normal life until just a few years ago, when she ended up on a corner, homeless.
Just a few weeks ago, John Tumino who runs a program for the homeless called "In My Father's Kitchen" had run into Michelle at a busy intersection.
“She was tired of being on the street. She was ready to get out of there. I made some calls and, unfortunately, we couldn't get her placed anywhere and when we went back to find her, she wasn't there,” Tumino said.
In most major cities, there are forgotten places, under bridges along interstates, where the homeless often live. The people who deal with the homeless on a day to day basis are hoping the events of the past two weeks have shown people that while the places may be nameless and forgotten, that the people who live there are not.
“It's not as easy as saying we need to get them off the street or give everybody a job. And it's not as easy as saying we need to do more. We do need to do more. Some of them struggle with addictions, bad family histories. So there's a lot of things going on in their lives that I think make the whole thing even more complicated and complex,” said Rev. John Manno of St. James Church.
“We have to do what we basically learn how to do to survive on the streets. Either go trash picking or fly a sign for money or go to churches to get food or people bring food to us,” said Lefty, a homeless man.
“People should realize when you have tragic things happen in your life and you get homeless and you're down and out, you need people to lift you back up. And sometimes your family's not there. The street people are always there for you,” said Kelly, a friend of Noce’s.
At this memorial, they were there for Noce, one last time.
Just last Friday, a memorial service was held near a homeless camp off Erie Boulevard for Tim Wilkin, a 40-year-old homeless man who died when a fire he lit to keep warm spread and engulfed his campsite along Interstate 690.