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Homeless in RI: “as the day turns into night…” with Street Sights, mobile homes, new in CF, updates

Artwork by Han Zheng, Street Sights

Rhode Island School of Design staff installed a metal structure over an air vent next to 2 College St. Students took up a petition to reverse the effort to dissuade homeless from sleeping on the vent, and the school took up the barrier.


Dignity Bus

Woonsocket has one of the Dignity Buses – together with those in Florida, and Chicago, 10,421 nights were spent for emergency shelter in 2023


Providence Encampment

Last week an encampment went up in flames off Smithfield Road on the Providence Pawtucket line. No one was there when fire department showed up – the encampment was completely destroyed.


Central Falls: Jenks Parks Residence, transition housing mothers and children

City of Central Falls

The Papitto Opportunity Connection, City of Central Falls and the Central Falls Children’s Foundation announced the creation of Jenks Parks Residence, a unique transitional housing program that provides workforce development and educational opportunities, along with medical and mental health care. The 30-unit affordable living space, funded by a $1 million site acquisition investment from RIHousing, will specifically support mothers and children who are at risk of homelessness, providing them a rent-stabilized, fully furnished apartment with all utilities included for two years. This is the first primary-care medical clinic in Rhode Island to address housing in the community it serves by offering access to transitional housing and wrap around medical services onsite. There are an estimated 70 children homeless in 2021-2022 per RI Kids Count.                                         

“As one of the densest cities in America, Central Falls has been devastated by the wake of the pandemic – from our growing housing crisis to a surge in 9-1-1 calls for domestic violence help. I’ve seen firsthand the dire need women and children in our city have for safe, stable, supportive housing, and I couldn’t be prouder of this historic moment and partnership with Dr. Nelken to bring this groundbreaking housing project to life,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera.

“Our goal is to give women and children a safe space, where they can receive the support and resources they need to take care of themselves and their families,” said Dr. Beata Nelken, founder of Central Falls Children’s Foundation and Jenks Park Pediatrics, who will oversee the project.

Located across the street from Central Falls City Hall, Jenks Park Residence on Broad Street will re-purpose a former assisted living facility. The 10,000-sq-foot space features a community kitchen with daily evening meals, a library, play areas for kids, and a computer lab for workforce development. Residents will have access to women’s health care, mental health services, and pediatric medical services, and wrap around services on job training, educational opportunities, immigration and legal assistance, and more.


Mobile Homes should be seen as property – not as “chattel”

Recently, a study was published on the state of Mobile Home “Parks” in Rhode Island, their potential reclassification to property, not a possession such as a car. Traditionally, the owner of the mobile home does not own the land it sits on, though collectives are being formed to change this. So far 60 groups have been changed to that model, with 5,000 units become “affordable housing”.

Photos from Westwood Estates website, largest “mobile home park” in Rhode Island, with 373 units

Representative Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) has a bill that would allow municipalities to count manufactured homes as affordable housing units. If passed, that would allow mobile homes to be counted in the requirement that cities/towns have 10% of their housing “affordable”. The following study shows where mobile homes are and what is needed to make sure they are addressed as safe and affordable housing options.

(Click each image to enlarge)


The April issue of Street Sights


(read by using scrolling tool – upper right)

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