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Longest night tribute celebrates lives of homeless

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Saturday is the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice.

15 hours of darkness in winter is hardest on the homeless population in Madison. So advocates came together at the state Capitol Saturday to remember those who've died while experiencing homelessness in Dane County.

Madison-Area Urban Ministry put together a list of names of people who died to celebrate them, collected from agencies across the area.

They met up at a marble bench, where Dwayne Warren died in 2009.

"Often times their families may not have known they have passed, ties have been severed. Often times their bodies stay in the morgue because there's no one locally who can claim the body. And we just want to make sure that they're lives are celebrated," said Linda Ketcham, executive director.

A horse-drawn hearse made its way around the Capitol in tribute. Then, the group met at First United Methodist Church for a meal and formal service of peace and remembrance.

The group collected donations of winter clothes at the memorial.

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