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2022 Annual Report
On behalf of Crossroads Rhode Island’s Board of Directors, I am pleased to share our 2022
Annual Report. It is with great pride and appreciation that I reflect on the achievements
of our organization over the past year and the significant positive impact we have made in addressing homelessness in Rhode Island.
As an organization committed to fiscal responsibility, we understand the importance of utilizing resources efficiently and effectively to maximize our impact. Throughout our fiscal year 2022, Crossroads Rhode Island maintained a strong financial position, enabling us to continue providing shelter, housing, and housing-related services to thousands of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our state.
As you will see highlighted in this report, Crossroads Rhode Island continues to work tirelessly toward fulfilling its housing vision while addressing the root causes of homelessness. Stable, affordable housing lays the foundation for people to regain their independence and rebuild their lives. Our efforts in 2022 drove many successes that included individuals transitioning from shelter to permanent housing, equipped with the necessary tools and support to sustain their newfound stability.
In the face of the ongoing housing crisis and the lingering socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our organization remained resilient and adaptive. We forged strategic partnerships with government agencies, community organizations, and generous supporters like you to expand our reach and improve our effectiveness in ending chronic homelessness in RI.
We can’t achieve this vision without you. Together, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness and helping them to build a brighter future. I extend my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for your ongoing support.
Chair, Crossroads Rhode Island Board of Directors
I am proud to present to you our 2022 Annual Report highlighting what we accomplished for the most vulnerable men, women, and children in our state. The outcomes achieved last year were made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and community partners.
Behind each of the numbers and infographics presented is a person, and you’ll read about some of those individuals in this report. You’ll learn about Becky’s strength and courage to keep her children safe, about Mark and Donna’s philanthropic goals, and about the Providence College students wanting to better their community.
Throughout it all, you’ll see that Crossroads provided housing and housing-related services to more than 4,000 men, women and children last year. That’s a 15% increase as the need for our services rose for the third year in a row. We need both immediate and longer-term solutions.
In order to truly end homelessness, we must create more housing that people with very low incomes can afford, which is why Crossroads is embarking on our most ambitious housing development efforts to date.
Looking forward, I’m excited to share our plans to create more permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. Check out our two new web pages for more information: www.371PineStreet.org and www.94SummerStreet.org. Feel free to contact me with any questions. And thank you for your continued generosity and support for our efforts to help individuals and families end their homelessness.
Karen A. Santilli
CEO, Crossroads Rhode Island
Faced with rising homelessness and a critical shortage of affordable housing, Crossroads leveraged Housing Problem Solving techniques and funding from the City of Providence and private funders like The Papitto Opportunity Connection and other sources to distribute nearly $900,000 in much-needed assistance last year. This allowed us to end or prevent homelessness for more than a thousand men, women and children who were either homeless or housing insecure.
Housing Problem Solving is a relatively new and effective intervention that relies on client-centered, housing-focused conversations that help people explore their options. The goal is to get people safely off the streets and out of shelter into housing quickly and cost-effectively. Solutions vary from client to client but include things like security deposits, utility arrears and an average of $2,064 in assistance per household.
"The Papitto Opportunity Connection is proud to support Crossroads in their efforts to address the homeless crisis. Housing Problem Solving has proven to be highly effective at reducing the number of households entering the homeless system. Together, we can create a brighter future where everyone has access to safe and stable housing, particularly for those in the BIPOC community.”
— Barbara Papitto
Rhode Island has seen an alarming 370 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness since the pandemic began. More than 1,500 people sought emergency shelter in Rhode Island last year and on any given night hundreds of people slept outside or in other places not meant for human habitation.
In response to the growing crisis, Crossroads increased our shelter capacity from five to seven shelters in 2022, adding two non-congregate shelter programs in local hotels, one for families with children and one for adults. While Crossroads continues to maintain our housing focus, access to safe shelter is sometimes necessary for people with immediate needs in emergency situations.
Crossroads’ other shelters include the Citizens Bank Family Center, Domestic Violence Shelter, Womens’ Shelter and Pine Street COVID overflow shelter, all of which are in Providence. Crossroads also operates the 112-bed Harrington Hall in Cranston, which is the largest men’s shelter in the state.
Over the course of the year, Crossroads provided more than 1,100 people, including 118 children, with a safe place to stay while we helped them find a permanent and affordable place to call home.
Housing is at the heart of what we do—and it’s the only solution for ending homelessness. So, in order to ensure our ability to provide safe and affordable housing for those with the highest needs, Crossroads owns and manages 375 permanent supportive apartments statewide. We also maintain strong working relationships with local landlords.
As a result, Crossroads helped 1,184 men, women and children find a new place to call home last year and an additional 1,100 people maintain their housing.
Of those, about 500 people were housed in market-rate apartments with local landlords through our Rapid Rehousing program. Each household received up to 24 months of rental assistance and case management.
An additional 275 people moved into one of Crossroads' permanent supportive apartments. These apartments are deeply subsidized and help provide extremely low, or no-income, residents find a safe place to call home coupled with housing-based services and support.
When Becky left her home in Botswana to study travel and tourism in Rhode Island, she was excited for the future. She quickly settled into her new life as a student, making new friends along the way, including her now ex-partner.
“He was on a motorcycle and kept beeping the horn at me. We ended up exchanging contacts and started speaking from there,” she remembers.
They dated for a few years and eventually moved in together. Shortly thereafter, Becky gave birth to their daughter. She stayed at home to take care of the baby while her partner worked to support their family. Life was good until Becky became pregnant for a second time.
“After that, things just weren’t the same. Our relationship became toxic,” she recalled. “Things were getting worse by the day. There was domestic violence, a lot of bickering, a lot of sadness.”
After a particularly bad fight, Becky’s neighbors called the police. Concerned for her safety, the responding officer slipped Becky some domestic violence resource information and urged her to seek help. Determined to protect her children, Becky knew she had to make a change. “I had to get them out of that,” she remembered. “I wasn’t going to go one more day looking at my kids’ sad faces.”
Summoning all her strength, Becky called a friend for help, waited for her partner to go to work, and escaped to a domestic violence shelter with her children and the few items she could pack in one bag.
“As I called the taxi, I was looking all around to make sure he wasn’t coming,” she stated.
Although it wasn’t glamorous, the shelter soon became a haven for her and her children. “I felt so free,” she remembered. “There was so much weight off my shoulders.”
Becky’s children also started flourishing again.
“My son cried every day at home,” she stated. “He felt the tension. He didn't want to be there. When we left, he never cried again."
While staying in shelter Becky’s case manager helped her apply for housing at Crossroads' Kingstown Crossings in North Kingstown. When a three-bedroom apartment became available, she and her young children moved in.
“It was so liberating to have my own space,” she stated. “Being homeless was the hardest thing, but escaping was the best thing. My kids are happy. I am alive. It's the best decision I ever made.”
Today, Becky’s life is filled with freedom and optimism. Thanks to the supportive Crossroads community, her young family is thriving and with an eye to the future, she is starting her own cleaning service. Inspired by her own journey, Becky is also actively advocating for others.
“I encourage people to not be afraid to ask for help, someone will be there for you. Don’t worry about what others will think, your friends, your neighbors. Worry about you and your family’s wellbeing,” she cautioned. “I am glad I am here today to talk about it. It’s my life’s purpose to be able to do this."
Unfortunately, decades of underinvestment have led to a critical shortage of housing in Rhode Island, particularly for those with the lowest incomes. There simply are not enough apartments that people with extremely low or no incomes can afford, which is contributing to the dramatic increase in homelessness in the Ocean State.
To meet the growing need, Crossroads is leveraging a combination of public and private funding to create more than 300 permanent supportive housing apartments statewide. When completed in 2026, these ambitious housing development projects will significantly reduce homelessness in Rhode Island.
Completed in March 2022, Crossroads recently renovated the former Warwick Family Shelter into the Beach Avenue Apartments, adding four beautiful apartments for families experiencing homelessness which brings the total number of family apartments at that location to 11.
As part of Crossroads’ on-going efforts to reduce homelessness in Rhode Island, we launched the Roads to Home Campaign, an ambitious plan to create close to 300 permanent supportive apartments for individuals struggling with homelessness. When complete, these landmark housing projects will provide the single largest addition of safe, respectful, and affordable permanent supportive housing constructed for adults experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island in decades.
About 30 percent of those experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island suffer from chronic health conditions, 45 percent have mental health needs and 20 percent have a physical disability. That’s why we’re creating a 35-unit apartment building specifically for medically vulnerable adults experiencing homelessness. Site work is expected to start in the Spring of 2024 with anticipated completion in early 2025. To take a virtual tour of this innovative new housing, visit www.371PineStreet.com.
If you happened to drive by Crossroads’ headquarters at 160 Broad Street in Providence last year, you might have noticed our more than 100-year-old building wrapped in scaffolding as we kicked off much-needed exterior maintenance. As part of the project our brick was repointed. Crossroads’ rusted signage was also removed and is being refurbished.
We expect to break ground on this beautiful net zero apartment building in the fall of 2023. When complete in 2025, 176 formerly homeless adults will move into modern, affordable, one-bedroom apartments, each with a private kitchen and bath. Designed to enhance the urban landscape through the addition of outdoor green space, the environmentally friendly apartment building also features office and community space. www.94summerstreet.com
“160 Broad Street is currently home to more than 200 people and serves as the epicenter for all of the housing and services that we provide statewide,” said Crossroads CEO Karen A. Santilli, “but the building was in desperate need of repair. We are incredibly grateful for funding from The Champlin Foundation which is allowing us to preserve this critical community asset for generations to come.”
In 2025, after the completion of 94 Summer Street, Crossroads also plans to kick off extensive renovations of the 176 single room occupancy apartments at 160 Broad Street, turning them into 82 beautiful one-bedroom and studio apartments, each with its own kitchen and bath. These renovations are expected to be completed in 2026. Additional exterior improvements are also being planned and will include new lighting, new sidewalks, additional green space and a separate entrance for residents.
Mark and Donna Ross have supported Crossroads for over 20 years, but their kindness and goodwill span decades. Growing up, both were taught that helping others was part of being a good community member.
“I remember as a young girl going house to house with my mother to collect donations for charity,” Donna reflected.
Mark enjoyed a successful career in the jewelry business as part of the Ross-Simons family. He noted, “We’ve been very fortunate in our lives and remain committed to doing what we can to help people who are in difficult situations which is why we focus primarily on supporting basic needs.”
What does giving back look like for you today?
“To establish a family legacy of giving, we set up a donoradvised fund at the RI Foundation. This allows us to leverage the expertise of the Foundation and decide as a family what organizations to support. We are also committed to volunteerism and serve on several local non-profit boards."
In addition to making a 5-year pledge to support Crossroads’ general operating needs, you made a Roads to Home Capital Campaign pledge to support new housing development. What spurred that decision?
“We’ve always believed in Crossroads but when we saw how impactful the new construction will be toward solving the housing crisis in our state, we knew this was special. We wanted to help Crossroads realize their vision because everyone should have access to dignified housing; it’s fundamental to building a happy and healthy life. It feels good to be able to give back and help others.”
In addition to emergency shelter and housing, Crossroads also offers trauma-informed Education & Employment programs to give people the tools they need to increase their earned income and maintain their housing.
Last year 182 people participated in one or more programs designed to help them increase their literacy and math skills, work towards getting their high school equivalency, improve their financial literacy, train them for a new career or look for a new job.
We are particularly proud of our Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, which has graduated more than 150 classes since we started offering the program in the 1990s. Last year, 59 students enrolled in our CNA program and more than 70 percent are working in hospitals, nursing homes and home healthcare organizations today!
About two dozen students also completed training to become Direct Support Professionals and are working in group home or other care settings where the need for skilled workers is critical.
In 2022, Crossroads and its subsidiaries raised or earned $29.2M, up from $22.2M in 2021. According to Chief Financial Officer Merelise Hitte, the revenue increase includes developer fees and funding for COVID emergency shelter programs. Crossroads also quietly kicked off a capital campaign last year to help fund housing development. Total expenditures for our operations before depreciation were $22.8M. Of those, we are proud to report that $19.3M or 85% was spent on direct program support.
Crossroads relies on a variety of sources to fund our housing, shelters, services and programs, including:
The work that we do would not be possible without our generous donors, funders and volunteers, so to you we offer our heartfelt gratitude. Thanks to you, thousands of men, women and children were able to get help when they needed it most. We can’t thank you enough for being there.
Donors and funders to Crossroads can also be confident about their philanthropic contributions thanks to our Guidestar Gold Seal and Charity Navigator four star ratings. Less than five percent of non-profits registered with Guidestar are recognized with a Gold Seal, which is the leading symbol of non-profit transparency and accountability. Similarly, our Charity Navigator rating means that Crossroads meets or exceed industry best practices and standards. We are proud to be recognized as a highly effective charity.