[Hpn] Providence, RI - Rains soak city homeless agency - Providence Journal - December 12, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Fri, 12 Dec 2003 05:36:51 -0500

Rains soak city homeless agency

The roof at the R.I. Coalition for the Homeless
fails and water pours into the facility.
BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN - Providence Journal - December 12, 2003

Providence, RI - For a time yesterday it seemed the shoe was
on the other foot for the Rhode Island Coalition for the

The agency, which has been trying to expand the number of
shelters for people who might have no roof over their heads,
spent the afternoon scrambling to stay dry after water
started to pour through the roof of its offices at 50
Niantic Ave., about 1 p.m.

Agency executive director Noreen Shawcross said the water
emergency probably would have been easier to take if the
sewers didn't start to back up at the same time.

"I've never seen anything like it," Shawcross said. "The
toilets and sinks were sprouting geysers, while water was
pouring from the ceiling. We were grabbing the computers as
quickly as we could to keep them dry."

Shawcross said the coalition's landlord, Scott Amore, went
up on the roof to clear a five-foot high snow drift that had
piled up in an area over the coalition offices. As Amore
pushed away the snow, he discovered that the rubber liner
that was supposed to protect the roof had separated,
allowing the water to rush in.

While Shawcross' office remained dry, three other rooms were
flooded, including a staff office, the system administrator's
office and the office of the administrative assistant.

The twin emergency came at a time when crews all over
Providence and East Providence had already started to
prepare for flood reports brought on by melting snow and
heavy rain.

Despite some reports of street flooding, particularly in
areas of Providence, police and fire officials said the
problems, where they occurred, were taken care of quickly.

In East Providence, Public Works Director Stephen Coutu said
that his men started early yesterday looking to clear snow
from drains, particularly in areas known to have a history
of flooding. As a result, he said, there were only isolated
and minor reports of flooding throughout the day.

One of the most watched areas of the city yesterday was the
Edward R. Martin Middle School, where crews last week
completed the installation of a new roof.

The rain yesterday was seen as the first real test of the
roof. By the afternoon, when it appeared clear that the roof
was holding up as hoped, crews got the permission to proceed
with the installation of the school gymnasium's new wooden

"They've already started with the floor, and it looks
beautiful," said School Committee member Edna Snow.

"At least we have a roof that doesn't leak, and a gym that
will be secure."

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