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Threat forces homeless at State House to move=20
=95 Capitol Police ask a group camped out on the lawn to leave in the =
wake of an FBI warning of possible terrorist attacks.=20

BY EDWARD FITZPATRICK=20
            Top Local News stories:
            Last update: 10.13.2001 00:06

            =95 Route 195 relocation costs soar to $446 million
            =95 Unsuccessful cost-cutting measure adds to project's =
rising price tag
            =95 Lincoln man selected to fill ethics position
            =95 Police identify Providence shooting victim
          =20
    =20
Journal State House Bureau=20

PROVIDENCE -- Spurred by an FBI warning of imminent terrorist attacks, =
the Capitol Police yesterday asked a group of homeless people to stop =
camping out on the State House lawn, and they agreed to leave.=20

People have been sleeping in tents outside the State House for nearly =
two months, saying homeless shelters are filled and calling for the =
state to open an overflow shelter. But Capitol Police asked the group to =
go elsewhere yesterday, one day after the FBI warned that additional =
terrorist acts could be directed at U.S. interests at home and abroad =
over the "next several days."=20

"How can you not react to a statement like that?" asked Stephen G. =
Tocco, acting chief of the Capitol Police. "It's an extraordinary =
statement saying law-enforcement agencies should be on heightened alert, =
and anything out of the ordinary we have to investigate and address. We =
can't sit on our duffs and just be spectators."=20

Police officials said they are concerned that a bomb could be placed in =
the tents, which remain unattended much of the day and are difficult to =
monitor, and they're concerned about the safety of those staying in the =
tents.=20

Catherine L. Rhodes, coordinator of People to End Homelessness, was =
removing tents from the State House lawn yesterday afternoon. "I =
understand why they want us to move," she said. "But some of these =
people have no place to go other than the street. We are caught between =
a rock and a hard place.=20

"If they are going to ask us to move, they should find a place for the =
folks to go," Rhodes said, calling for the state to open an overflow =
shelter now rather than waiting until winter. "We'll pack up, go back to =
the office and figure out where we go from here."=20

Hamazasp Hovannesian, known as "Mo the Cat Man," said he began sleeping =
on the State House grounds after the city tore down his dilapidated =
house at 327 Dexter St. this summer. Dozens of stray cats had stayed in =
his West End home, which also contained thousands of math and physics =
books.=20

Hovannesian -- who mentioned that his name is Armenian, not Arabic, and =
that he was born in the United States -- said he understands why Capitol =
Police want the tents removed. He held up a New York Post headline =
reading "Red Alert. FBI: New Terror Attack in Days." He said, "I don't =
knock them for being super cautious."=20

But Hovannesian said the encampment had been bringing attention to the =
plight of homeless children and providing a haven for those with nowhere =
else to go. Asked where he would sleep last night, he mentioned a =
friend's barn in Woonsocket or a friend's couch in North Kingstown. "I =
don't know where the next thing will be -- maybe under a tree," he said. =


Capitol Police said they have sympathy for the homeless group.=20

"If Sept. 11 had never happened, they'd still be here today," said =
Officer William R. Habershaw, Tocco's administrative assistant.=20

"They really have not been a problem, and we're not saying they can't =
come back at some point," Tocco said. "But right now, given the =
heightened security and things going on in the world, it's just prudent =
to ask them to move. If someone is going to make a statement, they are =
going to make it at the State House, not at the corner convenience =
store."=20

Leigh Pagnozzi, of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, said =
that although winter weather hasn't arrived yet, all of the state's =
homeless shelters are already filled to capacity. The number of homeless =
people in Rhode Island is rising, she said, in large part because of =
rising rents and a shortage of affordable apartments. "Where are the =
people who were sleeping in the tent city going to go?" she asked. "They =
are working on an overflow shelter, but it needs to happen now."=20

The state's Housing Resources Commission has budgeted $110,000 for an =
overflow shelter, but no site has been found and it's not scheduled to =
open until Dec. 1, said Susan E. Bodington, who is working with the =
commission. She said it may be possible to open the shelter by Nov. 1 if =
a spot is located.=20

But Governor Almond's spokeswoman, Lisa A. Pelosi, said the state would =
have to seek additional funds or reallocate money to open the shelter =
ahead of schedule. "Those things are now under consideration," she said. =
"We recognize the need for emergency shelters, but we do want to =
concentrate on more permanent housing. So that's the balance we have to =
[strike] with the funding provided."=20



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<DIV><FONT size=3D2><STRONG><FONT size=3D3>Threat forces homeless at =
State House to=20
move <!/HEADLINE><BR></FONT></STRONG>=95 <FONT =
color=3D#000033><!CONTEXT>Capitol=20
Police ask a group camped out on the lawn to leave in the wake of an FBI =
warning=20
of possible terrorist attacks. <BR><!/CONTEXT></FONT><BR><!BYLINE><FONT=20
face=3D"helvetica, arial" size=3D2>BY EDWARD FITZPATRICK </FONT><FONT=20
face=3D"helvetica, arial" size=3D2><BR>
<TABLE cellSpacing=3D10 cellPadding=3D0 width=3D150 align=3Dright =
border=3D0>
  <TBODY>
  <TR>
    <TD bgColor=3D#000000>
      <TABLE cellSpacing=3D1 cellPadding=3D3 width=3D"100%" border=3D0>
        <TBODY>
        <TR>
          <TD bgColor=3D#ffffff><FONT face=3D"Arial, Helvetica" =
size=3D2><B>Top=20
            Local News stories:</B><BR></FONT><FONT size=3D1>Last =
update:=20
            10.13.2001 00:06<BR><BR></FONT><FONT size=3D2>=95 <A=20
            =
href=3D"http://projo.com/cgi-bin/story.pl/news/06341921.htm">Route 195=20
            relocation costs soar to $446 million</A><BR>=95 <A=20
            =
href=3D"http://projo.com/cgi-bin/story.pl/news/06341911.htm">Unsuccessful=
=20
            cost-cutting measure adds to project's rising price =
tag</A><BR>=95 <A=20
            =
href=3D"http://projo.com/cgi-bin/story.pl/news/06341891.htm">Lincoln=20
            man selected to fill ethics position</A><BR>=95 <A=20
            =
href=3D"http://projo.com/cgi-bin/story.pl/news/06341881.htm">Police=20
            identify Providence shooting=20
      =
victim</A><BR></FONT></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>=
</FONT><FONT=20
face=3D"helvetica, arial" size=3D2>Journal State House Bureau =
</FONT><FONT=20
face=3D"helvetica, arial"=20
size=3D2><BR></FONT><!/BYLINE><BR><LOCATION>PROVIDENCE</LOCATION> -- =
Spurred by an=20
FBI warning of imminent terrorist attacks, the Capitol Police yesterday =
asked a=20
group of homeless people to stop camping out on the State House lawn, =
and they=20
agreed to leave. <BR><BR>People have been sleeping in tents outside the =
State=20
House for nearly two months, saying homeless shelters are filled and =
calling for=20
the state to open an overflow shelter. But Capitol Police asked the =
group to go=20
elsewhere yesterday, one day after the FBI warned that additional =
terrorist acts=20
could be directed at U.S. interests at home and abroad over the "next =
several=20
days." <BR><BR>"How can you not react to a statement like that?" asked =
Stephen=20
G. Tocco, acting chief of the Capitol Police. "It's an extraordinary =
statement=20
saying law-enforcement agencies should be on heightened alert, and =
anything out=20
of the ordinary we have to investigate and address. We can't sit on our =
duffs=20
and just be spectators." <BR><BR>Police officials said they are =
concerned that a=20
bomb could be placed in the tents, which remain unattended much of the =
day and=20
are difficult to monitor, and they're concerned about the safety of =
those=20
staying in the tents. <BR><BR>Catherine L. Rhodes, coordinator of People =
to End=20
Homelessness, was removing tents from the State House lawn yesterday =
afternoon.=20
"I understand why they want us to move," she said. "But some of these =
people=20
have no place to go other than the street. We are caught between a rock =
and a=20
hard place. <BR><BR>"If they are going to ask us to move, they should =
find a=20
place for the folks to go," Rhodes said, calling for the state to open =
an=20
overflow shelter now rather than waiting until winter. "We'll pack up, =
go back=20
to the office and figure out where we go from here." <BR><BR>Hamazasp=20
Hovannesian, known as "Mo the Cat Man," said he began sleeping on the =
State=20
House grounds after the city tore down his dilapidated house at 327 =
Dexter St.=20
this summer. Dozens of stray cats had stayed in his West End home, which =
also=20
contained thousands of math and physics books. <BR><BR>Hovannesian -- =
who=20
mentioned that his name is Armenian, not Arabic, and that he was born in =
the=20
United States -- said he understands why Capitol Police want the tents =
removed.=20
He held up a New York Post headline reading "Red Alert. FBI: New Terror =
Attack=20
in Days." He said, "I don't knock them for being super cautious." =
<BR><BR>But=20
Hovannesian said the encampment had been bringing attention to the =
plight of=20
homeless children and providing a haven for those with nowhere else to =
go. Asked=20
where he would sleep last night, he mentioned a friend's barn in =
Woonsocket or a=20
friend's couch in North Kingstown. "I don't know where the next thing =
will be --=20
maybe under a tree," he said. <BR><BR>Capitol Police said they have =
sympathy for=20
the homeless group. <BR><BR>"If Sept. 11 had never happened, they'd =
still be=20
here today," said Officer William R. Habershaw, Tocco's administrative=20
assistant. <BR><BR>"They really have not been a problem, and we're not =
saying=20
they can't come back at some point," Tocco said. "But right now, given =
the=20
heightened security and things going on in the world, it's just prudent =
to ask=20
them to move. If someone is going to make a statement, they are going to =
make it=20
at the State House, not at the corner convenience store." <BR><BR>Leigh=20
Pagnozzi, of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, said that =
although=20
winter weather hasn't arrived yet, all of the state's homeless shelters =
are=20
already filled to capacity. The number of homeless people in Rhode =
Island is=20
rising, she said, in large part because of rising rents and a shortage =
of=20
affordable apartments. "Where are the people who were sleeping in the =
tent city=20
going to go?" she asked. "They are working on an overflow shelter, but =
it needs=20
to happen now." <BR><BR>The state's Housing Resources Commission has =
budgeted=20
$110,000 for an overflow shelter, but no site has been found and it's =
not=20
scheduled to open until Dec. 1, said Susan E. Bodington, who is working =
with the=20
commission. She said it may be possible to open the shelter by Nov. 1 if =
a spot=20
is located. <BR><BR>But Governor Almond's spokeswoman, Lisa A. Pelosi, =
said the=20
state would have to seek additional funds or reallocate money to open =
the=20
shelter ahead of schedule. "Those things are now under consideration," =
she said.=20
"We recognize the need for emergency shelters, but we do want to =
concentrate on=20
more permanent housing. So that's the balance we have to [strike] with =
the=20
funding provided." <BR><BR></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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