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Progress on Homelessness is Being Made Thanks To Support from Public and Private Sectors
By Karen Santilli / February 8, 2017

In his January 26th opinion column, Mark Patinkin muses, “Homeless are everywhere, but where are our leaders?”

I’d like to respond by saying that in Rhode Island, we are fortunate to have a Governor, state leaders, city mayors, business people, and individuals who are committed to ending homelessness, and are willing to invest their time and money into solving problems that affect the quality of life for all of us. 

Since December, Crossroads Rhode Island has worked with Amos House and The Providence Center to provide more intensive services to the vulnerable people who frequent Kennedy Plaza, Burnside Park, and the downtown streets.

Crossroads’ outreach workers are present day and night in the downtown area to provide information and assistance to people who are truly homeless. Amos House’s “A Hand Up” program provides opportunities for panhandlers to participate in day labor and connects them to housing services, and the Providence Center works with the Providence Police Department to help people with mental health problems connect to the critical services they need.

These collaborative efforts are the result of individuals from different sectors coming together, including Governor Raimondo, Mr. Joseph Paolino, Providence Mayor Elorza, the Providence Police Department, the Rhode Island Foundation, the Downtown Improvement District, as well as support from private citizens who care deeply about the city and have stepped forward.

Governor Raimondo has worked for many years as a private citizen and as an elected official to help end homelessness. Many of our state leaders work across departments to ensure the effectiveness of the social safety net. Outstanding mayors and business people are committed to ending homelessness.

I’ve not been to a “war zone,” as parts of downtown have been described recently, but I have been to Kennedy Plaza and I see the significant improvements that have happened over recent months.

In Rhode Island, we have made considerable progress in reducing the number of chronically homeless people and veterans since we began focusing our taxpayer and philanthropic investments in housing solutions.

In 2016, Crossroads Rhode Island:

  • moved 450 individuals and 109 families from homelessness into permanent or transitional housing.
  • provided 456 formerly homeless households with case management supportive services to help them stabilize and maintain their housing.
  • provided emergency shelter to 1,407 individuals and 169 families.
  • helped 118 clients find employment through our Education and Employment Services Program
  • achieved an average length of stay of under 90 days in shelter .
  • assumed responsibility for Harrington Hall, which includes 112 beds and provided shelter for 510 men from July, when Crossroads began managing the property, through the end of the year.
  • provided assistance through our Street Outreach Program to 66 individuals and moved 17 of them from the street into their own apartments, many directly from Kennedy Plaza.

None of this could have been accomplished without the support and funding from our public and private donors.

We will continue to move forward in 2017 with all our partners to ensure that any man, woman, or child who is homeless in Rhode Island has access to effective programs and services to help them end their homelessness as quickly as possible.

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