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Homeless in RI: Street Sights news by, for homeless, pallets, Diocese walks hand-in-hand

Providence Homeless Encampments

With opposition in the background, the City of Providence received complaints about at least 3 encampments and city authorities served those living there that they had to leave. They were granted at least one extension, and on the final day any items left in the encampments were gathered and removed by city workers. At least one encampment moved further down the street to a church parking lot, welcomed by church management. But it wasn’t until Mayor Smiley did an interview with the media that we knew what the immediate impact was of the move.

Smiley indicated that no new encampments were formed, to his knowledge, and that most of the people left had found temporary shelter housing – and wraparound services – with Emmanuel House and programs run by the Diocese of Providence.

While the movement out of encampments is never easy, if the result is a new opportunity toward permanent solutions, then those solutions also need attention – for in them, there is hope. Mayor Smiley speaks to the encampments at approx. 22:45 where he updates the situation saying “found space for many of the residents that had been on Houghton Street and in a proper shelter with services” – “not aware of any problematic encampments in the city”.

We asked RI Housing for a statement regarding the encampments, and as of publication, have not had a response.

Emmanuel House (Diocese of Providence)

Emmanuel House has expanded its emergency shelter services (begun by Bishop Tobin in a former Diocesan day care center) over the last few years. Also, in December of 2023, they now offer emergency shelter for appprox. 32 women, on the second floor, as well as the expanded shelter on the first floor. Through the Catholic Charity Appeal, the Diocese covers the costs of insurance, maintenance, heating, electric and other utilities for Emmanuel House.

In addition to shelter residence, Emmanuel House lists their “wrap-around” services. They offer 9am to 3pm, by appointment opportunities to provide social service assistance.

  • SNAP (Food Stamps) Applications
  • Shower Facilities & Hygiene Products
  • Access to Clothing Room
  • ID Vouchers
  • Obtaining Health Insurance
  • Mental Health Referrals & Recovery Support
  • Employment Search & Resumes
  • Apartment Hunting & Applications
  • Referrals to Diocese’s Immigration Office
  • Case Management Services & After Care
  • Ability to take part in Community Garden

Tiny House – Pallet Shelter – Echo Village – Providence

The situation with the opening of the built tiny house village in Providence remains pretty much the same – issues of infrastructure, licenses, inspections, and zoning remain. RI Housing had said they would be open in April – then in “the summer”, and now Governor McKee has said “before the cold sets in”. It is unusual that Stefan Pryor has a failure – while the future of Echo Village is ahead of it, the huge delay in building, perhaps caused by a wrong site location as cities and towns refused its location in their areas – its struggle to get open may mark a “one and done” of homeless tiny houses of this kind in Rhode Island

Street Sights for June, 2024

We’re pleased once again to publish the June issue of Rhode Island’s only newsletter written by – and for – the homeless community. This issue celebrated poetry winners. The winning entry:



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  1. […] RINewsToday published a regular monthly update on the homelessness situation in Rhode Island: Homeless in RI: Street Sights news by, for homeless, pallets, Diocese walks hand-in-hand. In that report we provided information on the homeless encampments that were notified by the city […]

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