[Hpn] PROVIDENCE, RI - Housing group opens office to fight homelessness - Providence Journal - September 26, 2003

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <hccjr@bellsouth.net
Fri, 26 Sep 2003 11:33:55 -0400

Housing group opens office to fight homelessness

The Corporation for Supportive Housing will provide
technical and financial assistance to local groups to
create and operate affordable housing.
BY KAREN A. DAVIS - Providence Journal - September 26, 2003

PROVIDENCE, RI - With a growing number of homeless families and
individuals seeking shelter, a national housing advocacy group
has announced plans to open a new office in Rhode Island to help
end homelessness.

Elected officials and advocates gathered this week to celebrate
the opening of a local office for the Corporation for Supportive
Housing, an agency that backs efforts to provide housing for the

Officials also celebrated Fannie Mae's $3-million investment in a
revolving loan fund that will allow the corporation to help
finance affordable-housing initiatives.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Melville Charitable
Trust are providing grants that will enable the corporation to
give technical and financial assistance to local groups that will
create and operate supportive housing. The grants will also allow
the corporation to work with state government to streamline

"We are so lucky that they decided to come into Rhode Island,"
said Anne Nolan, executive director of Travelers Aid, which
provides an array of services to homeless families, adults and

Nolan said the corporation has a national reputation for working
tirelessly and intelligently to help agencies and nonprofit
groups carry out their affordable-housing projects.

The Corporation for Supportive Housing -- which has headquarters
in both Oakland, Calif., and New York City -- has as its mission
a commitment to help "communities create premanent housing with
services to prevent and end homelessness."

"They help us do it better, do it faster and provide us greater
access to funding sources," Nolan said.

State and city elected officials who attended the event also took
note of the significance of the new local office. Among those
attending were U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy and U.S. Rep. James
R. Langevin, Senators Jack Reed and Lincoln Chafee, Governor
Carcieri, Mayor David N. Cicilline and Secretary of State Matt

In a statement, Carcieri noted that "maintaining a plentiful
supply of affordable housing is vital to stabilizing
neighborhoods, building communities and recruiting and retaining
a skilled work force to grow our economic base."

Reed predicted that the office "will go a long way in helping our
state's homeless population obtain safe, affordable housing."

Chafee called the corporation a "major player" in the campaign to
provide affordable housing and services to the homeless. He said
the efforts of local nonprofit developers will be "further enhanced
by the energy and expertise" that it will bring to Rhode Island.

Officals said the office will be at 50-C Niantic Ave., in the
same office as the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.
Janice Elliott, director of the corporation's Southern New
England office in Connecticut, will oversee the Providence office
until a local director is hired.

Lyn Hikida, a corporation spokesperson, said the new office in
Providence -- the agency's ninth nationwide -- will work with the
Connecticut office to address homelessness in Southern New

Housing advocates say the rising cost of housing, coupled with
stagnant wages, has had a devastating impact.

In July, the group People to End Homelessness, camped out
overnight on the State House lawn to draw attention to shelters
that are running at capacity and that homelessness is not just a
winter occurrence, but a problem that exists year-round.

And, the problem is growing, as more residents can no longer
afford increases in their rents, Nolan said.

For example, Nolan said, Travelers Aid is paid by the state to
stay open 24 hours and to open its community room -- which has no
beds, only tables and chairs -- for 800 overnight stays each
year, to help out in emergency situations.

Last month alone, Nolan said, the agency provided 864 overnight
stays for people who had no other options.

By the end of last month, a downtown church -- which last winter
provided a temporary emergency shelter -- was compelled to take
in five families, as well.

"There is absolutely no affordable housing," Nolan said. "We're
seeing people that were in places [homes] that are having to
leave because they can't afford the rate increase."

As winter nears, more "people are going to want to come in . . .
and there's no 'in' to come into," she said.
source page:   http://tinyurl.com/orjb

 THE HOMELESS NEWS    H. C. Covington, Editor