[Hpn] Homeless SQUAT State House, PROTEST lack of affordable housing in RI USA (fwd) RI USA (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 2 Feb 2001 08:29:05 -0800 (PST)

PEOPLE TO END HOMELESSNESS / (401) 351-5252 CONTACT: Catherine Rhodes <homey@ids.net> [ PTEH Press Release follows news article ] http://www.projo.com/perl/story.pl/news/04910071.htm 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 House. 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 Cranston. 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 situation. 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. END FORWARD **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 <homey@ids.net> of "People to End Homelessness" (401) 351-5252 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. Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************