The homeless in Missoula come and go and the vast majority of residents barely take notice of them, but they live and die, often unnoticed and  un-cared for.

On Wednesday, that will change, with the first ever Missoula Homeless Persons Memorial ceremony at the courthouse gazebo from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

On the first day of winter, more than 150 cities will take notice of those who died while living without a home. The national coalition has sponsored the memorial day since 1990. Missoula United Way Program Support Coordinator Laura Harris said the ceremony on Wednesday will feature special speakers.

"This time we're going back to 2008 because it is our first memorial service," Harris said. "Next year, it will be for persons that passed during the year. There will be a presentation of the local proclamation by Mayor John Engen, and we will have a eulogy and a reading of the approximately 30 names, some music, and a prayer. It's going to be short and poignant, as it will be celebrated on the night of the winter solstice."

Harris said the idea of the memorial is to simply remind the public that Missoula honors and remembers the homeless whose lives come to an end in our city.

"We just want people to know that we remember the folks who died homeless and hopeless, and that we're here to honor them," she said. "We'll also be collecting items for the homeless, like toiletries and hygiene items for the Homeless Connect Project on January 27th. All items will go to the Poverello Center and to the Homeless Connect Project."