News & Event
Today, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian announced plans to re-open the former Rhode Island Family Shelter located on Beach Avenue in Warwick.
Through a mutual and amicable agreement between the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Family Shelter and Crossroads Rhode Island, Crossroads will begin operating the shelter for homeless families on Friday, September 4th. Crossroads will also provide services and support to the families living in the supportive housing units at that same location.
A collaborative effort by the Rhode Island Office of Housing and Community Development, Rhode Island Housing, the City of Warwick and other local community partners and donors will provide funding to operate the shelter and housing program.
“I am very happy to know that this partnership will preserve all of the shelter bed space that was offered in the City of Warwick, and I am happy to see the relationship that has developed between Crossroads and the Rhode Island Family Shelter,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian. “It’s great to see a positive resolution to this issue, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been involved in the process for coming together to ensure that some of the most vulnerable citizens of Warwick and Rhode Island will continue to have a safe and nurturing place to stay.”
“Crossroads is honored to have been asked by the Board of the Rhode Island Family Shelter and the Mayor of Warwick to step in to re-open this valuable community resource for families who are
homeless,” said Karen Santilli, President of Crossroads Rhode Island. “This is a particularly difficult time of year for families with schools opening as well as the coming holidays and winter. While Crossroads’ goal is to secure stable homes for these families, the need is outpacing the resources available for affordable housing, and emergency shelter is necessary. We are committed to working with these families to get them housed as quickly as possible.”
The shelter offers space for up to ten families at a time. While in emergency shelter, these families will receive case management and supports from Crossroads to move into housing as quickly as possible. The seven families in the permanent supportive housing program will also continue to receive supportive services from Crossroads. With overwhelming need for shelter capacity for Rhode Island’s homeless families, this collaboration will provide families safe and secure temporary housing and will keep families together as they seek permanent solutions to their homelessness.
“The Rhode Island Family Shelter Board of Directors is excited about the reopening of the shelter as our goal was always to keep with our original mission of helping families in need. We appreciate Crossroads’ collaboration and experience during this transition time and look forward to our on-going relationship,” said Christina Johnk, Board Chair, Rhode Island Family Shelter.
Providence, RI, July 1, 2016
The Board of Directors of Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s largest provider of services to the homeless, today announced a merger with the Women’s Center of Rhode Island, an organization serving victims of domestic violence. After a formal three-year affiliation, the two organizations have merged into one 501(c)3 organization governed by the Crossroads Board of Directors, and all Women’s Center programs and services have moved into Crossroads’ continuum of care as the Domestic Violence Program of Crossroads Rhode Island.
The Board of Directors of both organizations unanimously agreed to the merger. “This merger represents the coming together of two organizations united in the common goal of empowering vulnerable individuals and families to overcome homelessness and live safe, self-sufficient lives free of violence,” noted Virginia Branch, Women’s Center of Rhode Island Board Chair and Crossroads Rhode Island board member.
By combining the resources of both organizations, this new entity is better positioned to meet the needs of the community.
“By merging, we will improve the quality and accessibility of services to survivors of domestic violence and expand the range of services that support clients as they transition to safety, housing and stability,” noted Jack McConnell, Crossroads Rhode Island Board Chair. “The merger not only enhances and expands the scope of services of both nonprofits, but also provides a larger operating platform,” he added.
From a sample of women who had experienced domestic violence, 38% became homeless after they separated from their abusive partner. An additional 25% indicated that they had to leave their homes during the year following the separation for both safety and financial reasons.
“By bringing an innovative Housing First approach to our Domestic Violence Program, we hope to break the cycle of violence by providing opportunities for supportive, safe housing options for women and children as they transition from shelter,” noted Karen Santilli, President of Crossroads Rhode Island. “We will continue to offer comprehensive, evidence-based programs and services to individuals and families in crisis, such as 24/7 hotline, domestic violence safe shelter, case management, employment support and supportive transitional and permanent housing that survivors want and need to become independent.”
A Domestic Violence Committee of the Board will ensure that evidence-based domestic violence programs and services will continue and expand to meet the needs of clients who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence.
Additionally, Crossroads has applied for affiliate membership with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence.
“The Women’s Center was one of the founding member agencies of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1979, and they have been an integral component of the domestic violence movement in our state. We are looking forward to working with Crossroads Rhode Island, and to helping them maintain critical services for victims of domestic violence in the Providence area,” noted Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.
The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) was an innovative program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Crossroads Rhode Island received funds for the rapid re-housing component and was able to provide financial assistance and services to individuals and families who were experiencing homelessness and help them be re-housed quickly.
In July 2012, Crossroads received a second round of funding to continue the program, now known as Intensive Housing Stabilization Program (IHSP). While some of the criteria for acceptance into the program changed, it essentially remained a rapid rehousing program for individuals and families living in shelter. In order to be eligible for IHSP, clients must be referred by their shelter or outreach case worker, be staying in a shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation, be committed to intensive case management, and be likely to sustain housing once the program ends. Clients are eligible to receive up to 24 months of service depending on need.
The mission of Crossroads Rhode Island is to secure stable homes for individuals and families in Rhode Island, and IHSP is one of the most effective ways to achieve that mission. This program directly supports individuals and families to move out of homelessness and achieve housing sustainability. IHSP provides more than just rental assistance. It is a complete package of case management, financial assistance, financial literacy and good tenancy education. The goal of sustainability is to limit the likelihood that the family or individual will re-enter homelessness when their participation in the program has ended. Crossroads’ IHSP features the following services and assistance:
One of the major challenges of this program is the lack of affordable housing in Rhode Island. The majority of apartments that Crossroads housing locator finds for clients are market rent housing. While they are market rate, they also have to meet HUD’s criteria for fair market rents by geographic catchment area (i.e., what is fair in Westerly is very different from what is fair in Providence). Crossroads’ housing locator also works with Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to secure low income tax credit units when they are available.
Since the program started September 2009, 661 people have participated in the program, and 76% of them have moved out of the shelter system and into stable homes. Unfortunately, because not everyone qualifies, many were not able to participate because of lack of income and need for a higher level of care and support. Clients who are still in the program are living in their new homes and receiving services to help them become independent and remain stably housed.
On average, it takes 1-2 months for families or individuals to transition from shelter into their own homes. Once clients are living in their homes, Crossroads’ case advocates work with them for an average of 3-6 months (sometimes up to 9) to ensure they stay successfully housed.
Crossroads works with clients from the entire statewide shelter system. Individuals and families have come to this program through referrals from at least 19 other organizations throughout Rhode Island, and most have transitioned successfully to permanent housing in many communities.
With funding support and technical assistance, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has generously aided Crossroads in providing wellness programming for the many clients that come through our doors each day.
Volunteers from all areas of health and wellness provide our clients with information relevant to their experience. These programs are vital to those we serve as we assist them in becoming prepared on their journey towards a better quality of life.
The programs have a wide range of topics that include;
- General Health & Hygiene - Safe Sex & HIV
- Blood Pressure Screening - Derma Screening
- Yoga - Relaxation & Stretching Techniques
- Breast Cancer - Prostate & Male Testicular Cancer
- Domestic Violence - Nutrition
- Diabetes - Glucose & Cholesterol Screening
Many of our clients are eager for the next time they see these volunteers. Learning new techniques and adjusting their lifestyle to be healthier despite the adversity they face each day.
Clients also assist in letting us know topics that they encounter; pridefully letting us know how they have utilized the techniques they have learned courtesy of our health and wellness programming.
Thanks to funding from and the partnership with BCBSRI, our clients can live healthier and better prepared lifestyle as they move forward on their journey.
As a company dedicated to helping people on their path to better health, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (NHPRI) has been a valued partner of Crossroads Rhode Island for many years, striving to ensure that Rhode Island’s at-risk populations have access to high quality, cost-effective health care. Neighborhood currently serves more than 190,000 members - 1 out of every 5 Rhode Islanders - and has been ranked as one of the top Medicaid health plans in America for the past twelve years. The ongoing funding we receive from Neighborhood Health allows us to continue to provide services and support to homeless individuals and families in Rhode Island.
Recently, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island nominated Crossroads Rhode Island for the ACAP (Association for Community Affiliated Plans) annual Supporting the Safety Net award, which recognizes community-based organizations that implement exemplary, inventive programs to meet the health needs of high-risk populations and serve as a model of best practices for other communities.
“I’m proud to announce that Crossroads Rhode Island received Honorable Mention in recognition of their commitment to serving vulnerable populations and to improving the health of Medicaid enrollees and others with low incomes,” noted Peter Marino, President and Chief Executive Officer of NHPRI. “This is a prestigious national award considering ACAP represents 60 non-for-profit Safety Net Health Plans, including NHPRI, which provide health coverage to more than twenty million people in 29 states.”
“We want to thank NHPRI for nominating Crossroads for this prestigious national award,” noted Karen Santilli. “But more importantly, we are proud to partner with a local community provider like Neighborhood that treats members with dignity and respect and strives to create access to needed services and social supports. Our common goal is to make sure everyone in the state has access to high-quality, low-cost health care and that our most vulnerable homeless individuals and families can improve their health status as they transition from shelter to housing. “
Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island cares about those who are disenfranchised from the health care system and works to ensure the possibility of access to care and improved health outcomes for Rhode Island’s at-risk population. Neighborhood’s membership outreach team provides free monthly information sessions, held at Crossroads’ Broad Street headquarters. These sessions are open to all of our clients who are interested in joining NHPRI. And for those who are already a member, they are available to answer questions about membership, eligibility and benefits.
Many of Crossroads’ fundraising events have been generously sponsored by Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. In October, NHPRI was a sponsor of our annual Awards Luncheon to benefit the Domestic Violence Program of Crossroads. The commitment, support and generosity of community friends like NHPRI enables us to continue our work to empower vulnerable individuals and families to overcome homelessness and live safe, healthy and self-sufficient lives free of violence.
Thank you to our friends at Neighborhood Health for all that you do to support our work and for providing access to high quality health care in Rhode Island!
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