[Hpn] Homeless SQUAT State House, PROTEST lack of affordable housing in
RI USA (fwd)
RI USA (fwd)
Fri, 2 Feb 2001 08:29:05 -0800 (PST)
PEOPLE TO END HOMELESSNESS / (401) 351-5252
CONTACT: Catherine Rhodes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[ PTEH Press Release follows news article ]
FWD Providence Journal - Providence RI USA - Feb 2, 2001
HOMELESS ENCAMP AT STATE HOUSE
The state is opening an overflow shelter that will be open
at least through the end of the month.
BY EDWARD FITZPATRICK - Journal State House Bureau
PROVIDENCE -- With sleeping bags in hand, a dozen homeless people and
supporters went to the State House yesterday and protested what they said
were shortages in shelter beds and affordable housing.
People To End Homelessness talked about trying to stay overnight and
turn the State House into a marble "emergency shelter." But at 8 p.m.,
Capitol Police asked the four remaining members of the group to leave. They
agreed to leave but vowed to spend the night sleeping outside the State
The action came on the same day that Governor Almond's office
announced it would provide $25,000 to open a temporary overflow shelter in
The group, which includes homeless people, formerly homeless people
and advocates, considered calling off yesterday's event after hearing of
the governor's plans. But they went ahead because shelters have been at
capacity for months and state government has been too slow to react,
coordinator Catherine L. Rhodes said.
"If there was an earthquake or a hurricane or if we lived in an
affluent community, they would be housed right away," Rhodes said. "But we
are low income and we can't contribute to campaigns. So we don't have a lot
of political power, and it's easy for them to ignore us."
It was tough to ignore the group that turned up shortly after 3 p.m.
yesterday. They sat on steps in the State House rotunda as members of the
House and Senate hurried to their chambers and lobbyists lingered, shook
hands and talked on cell phones.
A tall bearded man, who identified himself only as "Bigfoot," said he
is staying at a Cranston shelter that is filled to capacity every night. He
said he must arrive by 5:30 p.m. to make sure he gets a bed.
Rhodes said about 30 people per night are sleeping in the day room at
a Traveler's Aid shelter in Providence, sitting in chairs and resting their
heads on tables, and many others are living in cars or sleeping outside.
The underlying problem is a lack of affordable housing, group members
said. Sister Wilma Miley, of the McAuley House soup kitchen, said many
people come to McAuley House seeking rent subsidies. "It's getting tougher
and tougher because there are no places to rent, and the rents are too
high," she said.
Kim S. Rose, the governor's director of community relations, said
Almond's office has been working "diligently" to deal with the shelter
She said she first met with homeless advocates Jan. 9 and quickly
identified a potential site for an overflow shelter. That site fell
through, but now a temporary shelter is scheduled to open Monday at the
state-owned Harrington Hall in Cranston's Pastore Center, she said.
Almond is dipping into a contingency fund to keep the shelter open
through the end of February, and his office will join with the state
Housing Resources Commission in trying to find money to keep the shelter
open through the end of March. The Urban League will run the shelter, and
Traveler's Aid will provide case-management services.
Almond's office also announced that the Housing Resources Commission
will add two units to its Emergency Apartment Program, which provides
housing to homeless families. With the addition, the program will have 16
apartments scattered throughout the state.
"Through the combined efforts of service providers and the state, we
have been able to develop a response to the shortage of emergency shelters
space in Rhode Island," Almond said.
**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Catherine Rhodes <email@example.com> of "People to End Homelessness"
RI State House DIRECT ACTION by People To End Homelessness on Feb 1
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 9:23 PM
Subject: Action Alert
People To End Homelessness will sponsor a direct action at the State House
Rotunda, 82 Smith Street, Providence on Thursday, February 1st at 3 pm
sharp. Please bring a sleeping bag, blanket and anything else you might
require for an overnight stay. It is our intent to turn the State House
into an emergency shelter until the Governor's Office opens more emergency
shelter space for families and individuals.
To date there are still around 30 individuals sleeping at the Traveler's
Aid Day Room due to the lack of shelter beds. There are many families and
individuals living in cars or outside while temperatures plummet in the
single digits. Many shelters are dangerously overcrowded with some
families forced to sleep on the floor of local social service agencies.
As former homeless people and self-advocates we find this unacceptable. We
know that the streets are not safe with some homeless street dwellers fall
victim to accidental death, murder, rape and robbery. One of our friends
was recently killed when he was stuck by a car while pushing his shopping
cart down a city street.
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