This March, Street Sights celebrates our two year anniversary. We have come from a one-page newsletter with a staff of four to a 12-page newspaper with a staff of more than 25, and from a distribution of 50 to 3,000. Our staff includes a wide representation of our community: homeless and formerly homeless people, high school and college interns, and professional journalists. We distribute our paper at more than 60 sites throughout Rhode Island. We build relationships with housing and homelessness-related non-proﬁts. Our paper serves as a supportive community, empowering people without a voice.
The paper was revived on March 14, 2007 (another version of Street Sights existed 12 years ago). On that day Gov. Donald L. Carcieri mandated that all homeless residents of Welcome Arnold, Rhode Island’s largest homeless shelter, were required to abandon the premises so that the state could build a police barracks in its place. Although the governor promised that all displaced persons would have a place to go, up to 50 people still did not know where they would sleep that night. Two years later, no building stands in Welcome Arnold’s place.
The Street Sights staff believes that Providence’s homeless population deserves to be informed about the issues that so critically affect their standard of living,and even survival. We believe that much of the hardships that Rhode Island’s 7,000 homeless individuals face are due to the lack of resources in the city and state and to lack of communication between state ofﬁcials, service providers, and homeless individuals about these resources.
Unfortunately the state of homelessness in Rhode Island has worsened. Now more than ever, people affected by homelessness, their allies, and our public ofﬁcials must remember that housing is a human right, that chronic homelessness is unacceptable.
Clear communication is even more important as stimulus monies roll into the state. Let’s take advantage of the resources we have. Please, use Street Sights to your advantage. We always welcome opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and new columnists.
We want Street Sights to continue to be the voice for the homeless, to shed light where there is darkness, and point people in the direction of help.