(clockwise from top left)
“Happy to be back on the street. My brother lets me stay at his place, but I’ll be glad to be out again. Plus there’s more work when it’s nicer out.”
– Allan Watson
“Looking forward to going out of the shelter when it isn’t raining andeverything gets soaked and takes days to dry out. Especially great not to have soaking wet shoes and socks. It’s also nice to see the girls out in their skirts and summer clothes!”
– Paul M.
“It’s great to go out without a jacket on. I’m sick of wearing a heavy coat all the time. I’m also looking forward to wearing flip-flops.”
– Chrystal M.
“It’s good to be out when it’s warm, but I don’t like it when it’s too warm, I have asthma, so it’s hard to breathe sometimes when it’s hot.”
– John St. George
By Irwin Becker
The state has tentatively agreed to try to keep some temporary emergency winter homeless shelters open beyond the expected April 1 closing.
It was anticipated, at a March 23 meeting of the Emergency Shelter Task Force that St. Martin dePorres/ Mathewson Street Church in Providence, Harvest Community in Woonsocket, and WARM in Westerly would close on March 31, but St. Paul’s Shelter would shut on May 1. Continue reading ‘State will keep some winter shelters open beyond March 31′
By Melissa Howard
Recently I was watching the six o’clock news. They were doing a story on a man, a Department of Children, Youth, and Family probation officer, who was arrested for selling heroin while on the job.
For many, this was shocking, but for me not so much. I have been telling people for years that the department needs a major overhaul, in all their departments.
Continue reading ‘Who’s really watching our children’
By Joseph Perry
There’s no privacy. You are nearly strip searched every time you enter the shelter. When I first entered the shelter you were not allowed to bring in food. You had to be up at 6:00 am, leave the building at 7:00 am and find some crappy breakfast. The staff stole from the constituents like there was no tomorrow and would get away with it. Even if the constituents had some type of income, the staff wanted to control all of your affairs. They’d tell clients that the money was being saved so that when they did find a place to move, they’d have moving expenses and money to help pay their security and rent. However, when clients would find a place of their own, all of a sudden the funds they felt were saved didn’t match what was returned to them; or the staff would have some excuse as to why they couldn’t return the money. Continue reading ‘Living in the shelter’
By William K. Harter
This month’s award goes to a dedicated family who believes in helping people.
Wesley and Frances Gardner have lived in Warwick for about 30 years. They moved to Warwick to be closer to their church, the Buttonwoods Chapel. They taught Sunday School there all that time. They are known as team workers, Wes & Fran. Continue reading ‘Gardner family gives thirty years of service’
By Reginald S. Lewis
Propped up conveniently
on crumpled sections of old newspapers,
twisted and piled in a most precarious pyramid.
The eyes of the blond man
are riveted upon the old woman.
Bearing down on those filthy rags he
imagined she’d worn since time immemorial.
As always with these people,
these perfidious vagabonds,
he anticipated the piteous mewling,
the tales of woe he knew all to well
to be nothing more than a desperate ruse
of some scandalous street magician,
tongue rattling, hands moving furtively
across the crucible of the eye
in that subliminal flash that can
only be interpreted as the
faintest flicker of magic,
something you knew not to be true
yet wanted to believe, those sad stories,
money to ride a chariot to the moon,
money for hot coffee and a crusty bagel,
money for parlaying a wicked,
non-negotiable past into the mundanity
of three-tiered cakes and
sweet apple pies, or perhaps,
a soft warm bed,
all those mannequins peeking out
and the cherubic faces of angels
who appear in the night
delivering the hot food and warm blankets.
This was the wrought-iron bed
She told them on which she could sleep forever.
This was the place she called home.
She thinks that she’ll lose it one day,
She thinks she’ll lose it
By mortgage foreclosures, or perhaps
a seizure by some heartless banker.
And she is afraid her lovely home
will be defenestrated by some
raving lunatic one night, maybe
during the dead of winter,
and she would be beaten and
kicked into oblivion.
Weeks later she’ll wake up in some cool,
antiseptic hospital, fighting death-demons.
the horde of white-jacketed tormentors
who’ll come to drag her away
to some state-run hospital for crazies,
where she’d be constantly bombarded
with the shock treatments and
the psychotherapy and the lithium.
They’ll take her so far out.
Continue reading ‘Good Morning’
By Morgan W. Brown
There is nothing one could manage to put into words with which to describe all about oneself and one’s life. Anything spoken or written would be either too brief or lengthy as well as overly boring or otherwise unbelievable at times, with differently sized fragments of a huge puzzle missing many pieces, gaps that often get distorted, even worse when done by others who think they know better about what happened or why, concerning deep dark holes that were long ago torn through one’s shattered soul, never truly mended or healed, attempts having been tried several times over and in several ways, including uttering thousands upon thousands of prayers, usually going unanswered, or so it seems. Yet life is still passionately held onto as the precious gift it is, far beyond what words will ever fully relate or express. Continue reading ‘No Words’
By Joe Lassiter
My name is Joe. I am a recovering addict who 3 years ago was homeless, a drunk.
After more than 10 programs and 10 relapses, through hard work and determination, I am grateful to have my life together. Continue reading ‘Life experiences help others’
By Oliver Rosenbloom
It breaks my heart whenever I hear a homeless person say “God bless you” because I know that our society does not return the blessing. On an inter-personal level, we constantly overlook and disrespect the homeless. Our treatment of homeless people is morally reprehensible in and of itself, but it is made even the more so by the fact that we proclaim to be one nation under God. While our collective theology may indicate that we are a Christian nation, our treatment of and attitude towards the poor often betray Jesus’ teachings. As Easter approaches, I urge all of us to remember that Jesus emphasized social justice, not just personal salvation. Continue reading ‘As I celebrate; what-so-ever I do’
By Donald O’Donovan
I was doing my laundry in the men’s room of the all-night movie and who do I run into but Jack. Little Jack, Jack with the red hat. Tony’s Jack. It was Friday or Saturday, last week. I’m wringing out my socks in the sink and in he walks. Jack was thrashed. His clothes were ragged and dirty and his red hat was full of stickers. He’d been sleeping out with the coyotes… and no Tony.
I put my things in a plastic garbage bag and we went back out, sat down and shared a bag of stale popcorn. We managed to catch a few winks, and in the morning, over coffee at Grand Central Market, he told me the story. Or he tried to tell it. The quality woman…the mansion in Brentwood. The words came out of him helter-skelter, like the song of a bird, a bird beaten down by a storm, a bird that had swallowed a poisoned worm. They were working the crowd in front of Bullocks Wilshire. Tony was sitting on his regular bus bench. Then the quality woman from Brentwood, she got her hooks into the big handsome guy. She kidnapped him. She adopted him. Continue reading ‘Night Train: an excerpt’
As we walk the streets
Eyes wide with no recognition
Hungry yet cold
Some with sunken faces of poverty
Others with fading hearts of gold
Days, months, years go by
As we all feel old
We cry late at night
Yet we save the day tears
To the doves.
Some of us never experience
Love, a good meal,
Or even the comfort of a good home.
We open our eye sights to the streets,
The only home we have now known taking comfort
In darkness our sights to the street
Light never knowing a bright future
For we are one population,
One nation of homeless beings
That will little to never see
The Light at the darkest tunnel know
Where is our hope…
Yet in the hearts of many, a home.
We with eyes to the sky we never knew,
But yet, in which we may never leave.
No matter how hard we may try
A never ending story in our lives.
Not knowing how to live…
…Yet dying to survive.
By Louise Horton
As I walk into the Salvation Army gym at 386 Broad Street on a rainy Sunday for the 4:30pm supper, a man chases after me with a free ticket; “You need a ticket if you want to eat!”
As we wait for our food, a gentleman tells a story about a man who didn’t think he had any blessings-only complaints, but on reflection, he found out he had many blessings. Then, in a clear, deep voice, he sings: “Count your blessings and thank God for the food.” Many diners say “Amen.” Continue reading ‘My Sunday dinner at Salvation Army’
By Betty Sloane
Sr. Warden, St. Peter’s & St. Andrew’s Church
What happens to a person when he or she is released from prison? There is probably no job waiting for you. Staying away from what put you in there is hard enough without all the other stresses. You have good intentions, at least initially, but let’s face it, when you have nowhere to go but up, it’s tough getting that first foothold. Continue reading ‘The Blessing Way gives men and women returning from drug treatment a real chance for success’
By Melissa Howard
According to shelter workers, there is a “noticeable increase” of drunkenness and substance abuse at the shelters.
There are no real statistics to back up the observation, but many residents and shelter workers agree that they are observing a definite increase in people who are using. Continue reading ‘Drunkenness and substance abuse in shelters’
By Joshua-Michael Corrente
The Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP), the unique and highly successful housing affordability program, has had its funding eliminated from the Rhode Island state budget.
Removing the program’s $2.5 million annual funding from the state budget is intended as a cost-savings move by Governor Carcieri, but whether the move will be truly cost effective is highly questionable. Continue reading ‘Cutting NOP: Successful housing program eliminated?’
More than 50 supporters attended a March 9th legislative hearing before the house Judiciary Committee to expand the state’s hate crimes tracking law to include the homeless.
Hearings such as this give the general public the opportunity to testify on behalf of, or in opposition to, any proposed legislation before it is enacted into law. Continue reading ‘House holds hearing on hate crimes bill’
By Francisco Luis Gonzalez
On March 2nd, between 6 pm and 9 pm, the gymnasium of the Davey Lopes recreation center, 227 Dudley Street, Providence, hosted a lightly-attended community resource fair and voter registration event.
Besides the array of tables typical of an indoor community fair, the night included ethnic dance, drama, and several musical events. Continue reading ‘“Open Doors” holds resource fair and voter registration’
By Lisa Oyler
My day begins at 5 am, a routine that provides me with a sense of stability. After all, I am temporarily residing in a woman’s shelter.
By 7 am the announcement for all to rise and shine is heard. However, by then I am already on my way to Amos house for breakfast, a community soup kitchen, not far from the shelter about 8 or 9 blocks except during inclement weather when it seems much farther. Continue reading ‘There’s no place like home’
By Arline Bolvin and William K. Harter
Tucked away in the basement of St. Joseph’s Church on Walcott Street, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen has new management with two full-time staff members replacing Ernie Marot, the long-time director of the kitchen who recently retired after 18 years. With an infusion of cash from a donation by Cumberland businessman John Pinkos, the owner of Texcel, Inc., the board of directors of the six-days-a-week soup kitchen are able to fund two positions to fill Marot’s one at the kitchen he founded in 1992. Continue reading ‘Six days a week Pawtucket soup kitchen spreads the love’