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Update Sept. 30th
Providence individual camping for “years” near the Orms Street/Marriott Hotel removed
Providence had notified Michael Nugent, who has been living in an ever-growing, single-person encampment near the Marriott Hotel and the Orms Street exit from Route 95 North that he must vacant state land by 11am Friday, September 29th. The written notification includes referral information to Amos House, Crossroads and Project Weber Renew.
According to past reports, Nugent has been offered services including shelter several times, to which he objects, claiming it is his right to live there. Nugent panhandles at the exit and has various signs displayed at his encampment as well as furniture. He is known to be visible in various stages of dress and undress. Nugent says he was also one of those individuals who was camped outside of the RI State House, and again was offered housing, declined, and found himself now living in and around the overpass area.
UPDATE: Early afternoon Friday, Nugent chose not to leave the property or remove his possessions. Willingly he agreed to be arrested and his possessions were cleaned out of the area, some stored. Nugent has repeatedly refused shelter or temporary housing offered by various state and homeless service agencies.
One media outlet reported that Gov. McKee visited several encampments with the Mayor of Woonsocket, encouraging them to accept shelter options. Two individuals chose to be arrested. No further information is available at this time. This may be an attempt to get on top of the encampment issue earlier than the state did last year, which went close to Christmas and then beyond – especially now that some beds and options are available.
Changes at The Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness
The Coalition announced by email yesterday that the “planned departure” of its Executive Director, Caitlin Frumerie, effective today, 9/29, will take place. Frumerie has been in her position since 2018. Reasons were given that she recently adopted a son and is stepping down “to spend more time with her growing family”.
Their Board will initiate a search for the next Executive Director, and in the interim, Kimberly Simmons will assume leadership responsibilities. Simmons, whose last position on LinkedIn is as a senior consultant for KDS Consulting, where she has been associated since 2008. Her career statement on LinkedIn says she has “held executive/senior leadership positions of various size nonprofit organizations providing leadership, mentoring and coaching to staff and volunteers for over 30 years. My experience covers managing multi-sited, multi-service, complex funded agencies throughout the Greater Boston area.”
RI Housing issues $10 Million in grants
Earlier this week, RI’s Department of Housing issued $10 million in funding to 27 organizations for 66 projects to provide emergency shelter, street outreach operations, housing problem solving, supportive services, and rent assistance through rapid rehousing. This latest deployment of funds is designed to “reach Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness across the state and will provide the support many people need to obtain permanent housing.”
The 66 funding awards for today include the following:
Rapid Rehousing and Housing Navigation:
Homelessness Prevention, Problem Solving, and Systems Coordination:
The $10 Million is not the final program dispursement and additional funds, not part of this announcement will be coming soon, according to the Housing department.
RI Housing staff positions open in the homelessness sector:
Several positions are now listed by RI Housing on their careers page, with salaries ranging from $64K to $185K:
Youth Point in Time Count – Unhoused children in Rhode Island
Conducted in 2018, the last statewide youth count found that 173 Rhode Islanders between the ages of 14 and 24 were experiencing housing instability.
In 2023, there were 18% more adults with children who were homeless.
In 2023, there were 376 “persons under 18”, and 81 “persons from 18-24” years of age who are homeless.
Hotel/motel housing in RI
From an investigative report by NBC10, Rhode Island has spent $4.3 million on contracts with the NYLO and Motel 6 in Warwick over the past two years. The total costs at the NYLO topped $3.8 million, with rooms costing $150,000. In a span of two months alone, the rooms at the Motel 6 have cost the state over $267,000 (no costs added for food).
Data shows police responded to 113 calls for service and made 23 arrests from May through August, while call volume at the fire department jumped about 50% year over year.
Between the price tag and the issues that accompany hotels, the state is now working to phase them out completely in favor of a more permanent solution.
Open Doors – Pawtucket’s move
Open Doors is expected to have their services continue at the building on Main Street being used to house homeless 24/7 – the facility has a full time day program and 30 sleeping areas. People are selected by lottery as to who will sleep there. Open Doors is not included in the new $10M announced, but sources say the program is expected to continue under a different group of funding to be announced soon.
Mayor Grebien in Pawtucket is also looking for a second building to double the amount of emergency housing as winter approaches. In addition he has traveled to Florida to look at the Dignity Bus program – the one being utilized in Woonsocket. He said he was very impressed and will work to bring a bus to the area.
August Refugee numbers in Rhode Island:
While Rhode Island has not seen bused-in migrants as other states have, refugees from Haiti are now being housed in hotels over the border in Massachusetts. Countries where refugees arrived from in August to Rhode Island are –#1. Syria: 17#2. Afghanistan: 5#3. Congo: 3
Pallet Shelters coming to Rhode Island?
Pallet Shelters have been identified by homeless service agencies as a preferred method of housing to individuals now living in encampments. This is a model used in several other states, mostly on the West Coast.
In Portland and Seattle, communities with the longest experience setting up using small housing units into villages are now grappling with people living in them permanently and the areas becoming unkempt with personal items –
One pallet provider and options for housing is here: https://www.bdcnetwork.com/pallet-shelter-fighting-homelessness-one-person-and-modular-pod-time
RI Housing has noted the difficulty in neighborhoods willing to accept a pallet village into their cities and towns. Ideas to locate a village at the Pastore complex occasionally surface, while Stefan Pryor of RI Housing said they are looking for emergency shelters elsewhere, and ideally in a situation that could become permanent housing, with wraparound services.
Dignity Bus in Woonsocket
Officials have kept rather quiet about the progress in using their new Dignity Bus. Community Care Alliance said they are moving toward implementation.
The Source Ministries is now preparing a new bus for Illinois – it will be their 3rd bus customized to address homelessness in other states.
California gets desperate – goes to Supreme Court
Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in a case he blames for having “paralyzed” California officials in addressing homeless encampments.
In an amicus brief filing to grant review in the case of City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, Newsom urged the Supreme Court to clarify that state and local governments can take reasonable actions to address the homelessness crisis creating health and safety dangers to individuals living in encampments and communities.
Pope Francis address crisis in Europe
Pope Francis directly told European countries to open their borders to refugees leaving countries because they have the capacity to do so – not just the US.
Fall began on September 23rd, 1 week ago
Winter begins December 21st, 82 days from today
Here we go again. Mr. Nugent thinks he’s making a stand against being homeless. He’s wrong. He has had opportunities for shelter but keeps refusing. His point is moot since he continues to refuse. This isn’t 1800 and there’s no ‘squatter’s rights’, to my knowledge.
Why don’t we want pallet housing? As indicated by what’s happening in Oregon & Washington, this is exactly why we don’t want them. They really don’t care. There is no pride in having a roof, of picking up their own trash, or doing much of anything since they are being supported by others. It continues to be a case of biting the hand that feeds them.
We are constantly voting on a referendum for Open Space. There isn’t much open space in this tiny state. It’s gobbled up by variances. Soon, there won’t be any place to go for relaxation, exercise, peace and quiet.
As I said months ago on this site, once they are in the pallets, they’re not going to leave. These areas will fall under the PILOT plan and each city will bear the burden. There is only so much we can give and it’s done voluntarily. Our incomes have limits. We are responsible for taxes, upkeep, services by our cities, etc. Nothing is free. We’re the ones who get fined when the grass isn’t cut or the house needs painting because we’re paying for someone else’s upkeep and don’t have the money left to get these things done.
Charity begins at home. Nobody has taken care of me – I’ve done it alone, as have the majority of folks. I feel sorry for some – only by chance did they end up like this but as to others, they made their own bad choices. There are resources but the only thing they use is a free meal or a bus pass. They have a ‘street sheet’. They know where to go for a meal, a roof, clothes, and a job. They need to use the resources, created for those who are down and out.
I have nothing left to give.
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