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Thanks to your generous support, over 3,300 men, women and children accessed services at Crossroads in 2017. Check out our results from 2017 and learn more about our plan to end homelessness for the future.
We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our amazing corporate partners for inspiring their employees to give back to community. In 2017, 40 volunteer groups invested over 1,300 hours to work on projects at Crossroads' different sites, and they did incredible work for our clients and organization.
Between preparing meals for our clients, beautifying Crossroads spaces and putting together supplies to make our families' and individuals' new houses feel like home, we cannot thank our volunteers enough for dedicating their time to helping your neighbors in need.
Is your group or business looking for a way to get involved in the community? Contact Ronny Figueroa to learn more about our corporate volunteer opportunities.
Crossroads Staff Writer
June 11, 2010
Back in February, in the middle of a cold winter, Terry and her son faced an awful reality—they were homeless and had no idea where to turn. "I had heard about Crossroads Rhode Island and knew it was a place to go when you really need help," Terry says, "But I didn't know they helped families." Terry was desperate for a safe place to stay, so she and her son took a bus to Crossroads and asked for help.
"From the moment I walked into Crossroads, I know I had made the right decision," Terry remembers. "Everyone treated us with respect and kindness." Terry and her son found a welcoming temporary home at the Crossroads Family Shelter where Sandra Robinson, the Case Advocate Supervisor, helped them navigate the journey out of homelessness. Terry says that Sandra inspired her to believe in herself, develop self-esteem and take advantage of opportunities at Crossroads.
Within a short time, Terry enrolled in Crossroads' Customer Service training, a demanding program that helped her develop professional communication skills, improve her academic level and learn to use basic computer programs. Just getting to class on time every day was a challenge, because Terry wanted her son to stay in the same school and that involved getting up early and spending almost 4 hours a day on the bus. Even though it was difficult, Terry thrived in the Customer Service training and distinguished herself as a student. She was rewarded for her hard work with a paid internship at the Providence Performing Arts Center, where she has excelled in her work and is looking forward to permanent employment there. "I am proud to tell people that I am a student at Crossroads Rhode Island," she says, "because their training gave me a new start and hope for my family."
Terry's first goal when she came to Crossroads was to find affordable, decent housing, which can be time-consuming and very difficult for low-income families in our state. Sandra connected Terry to Crossroads' Rapid Re-housing Program, and with the help and coaching of Case Advocate Melissa Fijol, Terry has met all requirements for the program and is on the waiting list for affordable housing. Just meeting all the requirements for the program can be difficult and time-consuming, and Terry is grateful that Melissa encouraged her to stay on track. One requirement of the Rapid Re-Housing Program is financial education and counseling, which Terry says will help her manage her income and budget so that she does not find herself homeless ever again. "It was great," Terry says, "I didn't know how helpful the financial part would be." So far, Terry has seen one apartment that is coming available but hopes to find one nearer her son's school if possible. In the meantime, she is continuing to save money for the rent and deposit she needs to secure her new apartment. Her dream is to work hard and save enough money during the next five years to be able to buy a home.
Terry says that she came to Crossroads to find a bed for a night, but instead she found a wealth of resources that are helping her achieve things she only dreamed of doing. "I am a successful student and a good worker. I'm learning new professional skills, gaining self-confidence and becoming a person that I can admire." Terry attributes her success to the people at Crossroads who reached out to help her. "They all have a heart, and I am a lucky woman to have their support." She goes through a long list of those who have helped her along the way and wants to make sure they know how important their help is to her. She wants to thank Sandra at the Family Center who told her, "You can do it. I can only guide you," and has been there to help every step of the way. Terry is grateful to Steve Osorio, the Customer Service trainer who helped her enroll in the job training program and encouraged her to succeed. She thanks Jillian Tracey, who helped her with both social services and educational instruction; Viola Smith, the Employment Specialist who made sure she was ready to go to work and dressed for success; Melissa Fijol and Nicole Bush from the Rapid Re-Housing program; and all the Crossroads' staff that told her, "You can do it. Just believe in yourself."
Terry's story is a fine example of the Continuum of Care model that Crossroads uses to help people rebuild their lives so they will not be vulnerable to further homelessness. She came for shelter, but found out that there is a whole range of services and supports available at Crossroads to help families and individuals succeed. "Going to Crossroads was the best decision I ever made," Terry says. But, as Sandra Robinson at the Family Center observes, "Terry has made a success of herself because she works really hard and has learned that she has a lot of potential. She has come to believe in herself and her ability to provide for her family. We are proud of her." As for Terry, she is proud of her achievements, grateful to be working in a prestigious place like the Performing Arts Center, and looking forward to a good life for herself and her son.
When Thomas Hunold became homeless, he had absolutely nothing left. Long gone was his financial success as an entrepreneur who operated several successful martial arts schools. He used to pal around with sports celebrities, and he enjoyed a wonderful home, family life, and beautiful children. Bad decisions and bad associates led him to ruin, and eventually homelessness.
“I had hit bottom,” Thomas says. “I ended up in the Urban League homeless shelter. Luckily, I went to Crossroads to hang out during the day and meet with a case worker.”
It was in the Crossroads Community Room that outreach worker Luis Pinto met Thomas and asked him if he would be willing to join in one of Crossroads’ neighborhood cleanup efforts.
“I figured it was better to do something positive than to sit around doing nothing,” Thomas says. “I would have less chance of getting involved in something that might make my life worse. I just wanted to move forward, not get stuck.”
North Kingstown, R.I. (May 20, 2011) – U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Representative James Langevin joined Crossroads Rhode Island, Rhode Island Housing, and their community partners today to celebrate the first 24 homes completed at Kingstown Crossings I.
“Crossroads Rhode Island is proud to open these new, safe and beautiful homes to our families. The children will now live in a healthier environment and their parents will have much lower utility bills to pay each month,” said Anne Nolan, President of Crossroads Rhode Island. “Safety, respect and effectiveness are the core values for Crossroads and these homes are a perfect representation of those values. We are grateful to all our funders and partners that helped us make this a reality for our families.”
These new energy-efficient homes will replace former Navy housing located on the site. When the first phase of this project is completed, all of the 58 original apartments will be replaced with 58 new, safe and healthy homes. The families who were living in the former Navy housing are being relocated into the new homes.
“This is an exciting new development, returning surplus military land back to the community and creating impressive, energy-efficient homes for more working families. Kingstown Crossings will help breathe new life into the neighborhood,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who helped secure over $5.5 million in federal funding for the project through a variety of federal resources. “Not only are these homes affordable, but their green features will make them more cost-effective to run. I commend Crossroads and Rhode Island Housing and their partners for making these quality, affordable homes a reality and look forward to the successful completion of the next phase of this ambitious plan.”
“These new homes not only provide low income families with affordable housing, but help save the residents money on their energy bills and jumpstart the market for energy-efficient products in Rhode Island,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Later phases will include the creation of an additional 46 homes, bringing the total number of homes in the development to 104, all of which are affordable to families earning up to $43,260 for a family of four. Office space for program staff, new daycare center, community center with a conference room and additional parking areas are also planned.
“Providing affordable housing in our state is critical to getting our economy back on track,” said U.S. Representative James Langevin. “We have a responsibility to assist those who are unjustly bearing the brunt of the recession, and who are unable to fully contribute to our economic recovery without stable housing. These buildings represent a model for addressing our housing crisis by partnering federal, state and private entities to maximize our resources and reducing costs through energy efficiency.”
Crossroads Rhode Island, the developer of Kingstown Crossings and the state’s largest provider of immediate and long-term assistance to Rhode Islanders who are homeless, teamed up with several partners to finance this development. They were able to pull together funding from several sources, which helped pay for the construction and the rental assistance. The total development cost is about $13.7 million.
“Kingstown Crossings is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when partners come together,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “We are able to create good homes in vibrant communities when a strong nonprofit organization like Crossroads takes the lead to bring together so many government and business entities in a common public purpose.”
Rhode Island Housing contributed nearly $8.6 million for this development. Additional financing was provided by Bank Rhode Island, in partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Housing Resources Commission, Home Depot Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, Town of North Kingstown, and Enterprise. Corporation for Supportive Housing and Rhode Island Housing, which provided pre-development financing.
On Veteran's Day, we pause to remember and thank the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of our country. Many veterans encounter great challenges when they return to civilian life-physical and mental health, money and family problems are all too common. Every year, more of these veterans are becoming homeless all across the country, including Rhode Island. In 2010, there are more women veterans than ever before who are becoming homeless.
At Crossroads Rhode Island, Case Advocates help veterans connect to mainstream and veteran specific resources to rebuild their lives. Case Advocates collaborate with the Veterans Administration (VA) to help homeless veterans benefit from VA housing assistance, employment programs, health care, and homelessness prevention. Permanent housing vouchers, known as HUD-VASH, provide veterans with vouchers that they can take with them if they move to another residence or even another state. The VA Per Diem program supports transitional housing and services for veterans.
This Veterans Day, we spoke with a couple, Troy and his wife Mahalia, who are clients in Crossroads' Rapid Re-housing Program (known as HPRP). Troy is a Navy veteran who was on active duty in Lebanon in the 1980's and witnessed the devastation after the U.S. Marine barracks were bombed during the Lebanese civil war. He received a Naval Expeditionary medal for his service, but the experience left him with trauma that led to years of depression and off-and-on homelessness. His physical health deteriorated as well and he suffered a serious heart attack, but along the way, he had met a wonderful woman, Mihalia, who helped him recover and begin to hope for a better future.
When Troy and Mahalia lost their home earlier this year, they were determined to change their lives for the better. Troy, who has worked for years as a computer consultant began looking online for help. "I researched programs for the homeless all over the Northeast. When I found Crossroads Rhode Island's website and saw the comprehensive services offered there, we knew exactly where we would begin the process to restart our lives." Troy and Mahalia came to Crossroads in June, and as soon as space was available, entered the First Step program where they connected to our Rapid Re-Housing program.
Troy and Mahalia say they know they made the right decision. They have found that Crossroads' staff works collaboratively with other providers to ensure that clients get the best services possible. While staying in the First Step shelter, Mahalia worked closely with our Vocational Services Employment Specialist, Viola, to get her nurse assistant license, which she had earned out of state, recognized in Rhode Island. Mahalia is interviewing for jobs now at local hospitals and hopes to be employed full-time soon. Case Advocates connected Troy to Social Security and helped him apply successfully for disability benefits, and they are working with him as he pursues veteran's disability benefit claims. But, best of all, Troy was able to qualify for a HUD-VASH housing voucher, and, with the help of Nicole and Melissa from our HPRP program, he and Mahalia have found a beautiful new apartment that they will move into very soon.
"A lot of homeless veterans are totally focused on daily survival," Troy says, "but they need to know that there are services that can help them live better. It takes a lot of work to change your life and accept help, but once you can do that, things change." We are happy for Troy and Mahalia and wish them well in their new home.
On September 15, 2017, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI (BCBSRI) employees gathered at 11 non-profit organizations and community groups across the state for their annual Blue Across RI day of service.
More than 40 volunteers joined us here at Crossroads, where they gave the rooms in our Women’s Shelter a fresh coat of paint. Their efforts made our shelter a more comfortable place for the women who stay with us while they work with our staff to find safe and permanent housing.
“It’s a feeling that you’re giving back and you’re helping, and it’s actually hands-on,” said one BCBSRI employee.
Our Women’s Shelter offers accessible, semi-private accommodations for up to 41 women, with a safe space to store their belongings, a common room, showers, and access to our professionally trained staff and a range of programs and services.
Some volunteers also helped out in our kitchen preparing dinner for our clients, while others cleaned up and organized our donation storage areas.
We are thankful for the valuable help that the BCBSRI volunteers provided and proud to be a part of this annual event, one of the largest corporate days of service in Rhode Island.
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