By William K. Harter
I was in Myrtle Beach, S.C. early May while there was a Biker’s Rally going on. It was easy to tell they were there—the noise of the loud engines, the ads all over town announcing sales of Biker’s helmets, boots and T shirts. Many businesses and motels had “Welcome Bikers” signs on display. I took the liberty of interviewing two bikers who were homeless.
Ted is in his early 40s, from the Midwest “corn country”, as he put it, the oldest son.
How did you get homeless? After school, I graduated, got a job, got a bike, loved it, joined with other bikers, went to their meetings and rallies. I took off often with them to see the USA and started to travel about 10-15 years ago. Continue reading ‘The Road is Their “Home”’
By Amanda Luce
I never once had it all
But then I made the first phone call
You may not know it,
but you’ve helped me out
I no longer scream…
I no longer shout…
I thought you’d be scared
of what happened to me
You didn’t judge
you understood and let me be
You listen to me you don’t say a word
You’re the first who really heard
You can tell by my voice
when I’m feeling blue
You make me laugh
make me feel brand new
You may not know but I’m falling for you
I don’t tell you so you don’t have a clue
By Arline Bolvin
After decades of struggle and the attention of every president since Roosevelt, Congress has enacted major health insurance reform. To better understand the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) along with the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 Street Sights spoke to advocates and health care professionals and average insured and uninsured Rhode Islanders. In future editions Street Sights will explore health reform and how it will impact our readers.
The health insurance reforms adopted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the subsequent reconciliation bill is to be phased-in over the next eight years. The Act preserves the current public—private mix of employer based coverage, Medicare and Medicaid and creates income-based subsidies to make coverage more affordable to low-and middle-income families without employer coverage. Continue reading ‘What’s in the New Health Insurance Reform?’
By Reginald St. Louis
We enter onto the morning with
The creation, the gray dusk of
Dawn unfurling across the sun drenched
Sky like a thick yellow carpet.
The new day makes us wonder
About yesterday. When the hours
Quickly shrunk to minutes…
What he ordered for his last meal,
Whether he ate a cheeseburger
With French fries or had
A milk shake with a sirloin steak.
He had a notorious sweet tooth
So we hope they gave him candy bars.
Did he sing that old war song? Or cuss?
Did an angel leap inside his chest
To muffle his screams?
We couldn’t hear his last words
But he sure talked a lot.
Oh, we wonder…
Whether it was really sterile and quick.
Whether they tortured him trying
To find a vein –
Considering all the dope he’d shot.
By Francisco Colber
I am just beginning to understand the place where my Surrogate lives, or perhaps better expressed, the places where he chooses to exist. He told me once that he, like his brethren, are perfect beings. That where they come from there is neither pain nor sorrow, only light. It is a place where they hold their loved ones in perpetual care and safety. But this consciousness, he said, is not found in one physical realm but exists simultaneously in a multiplicity of places. And therefore he has come to unify the totality of whom we are into his perfect existence – where, according to him, we really exist. He has traveled not only back in time but into the parallel realities that we inhabit, where we all, in our ignorant error embedded ourselves on the rusting hulls of ships — like barnacles – lost within space and time. Continue reading ‘Into the Chrysalis, part 3′
By Kristen Sherman Esq.
The House and the Senate recently passed companion bills that would enable more convicted criminals to get their records sealed through a process known as expungement. Current Rhode Island law allows judges to permanently seal from public view the record of nonviolent crimes by first offenders.
Eligibility for expungement varies depending on one’s criminal record. One convicted of a misdemeanor is eligible for expungement five years after completion of his sentence, while one convicted of a felony must wait 10 years after the completion of his sentence to apply for expungement. Continue reading ‘New Revisions to Rhode Island Expungement Rules Become Law’
By Nancy Kelly
Some people apply for housing thinking it is an orderly, sequential event. Most agency applications are three to five pages in length. Either alone or with the help of a case manager, one would think the entire process –forms, evidence, statements, numbers –could easily be completed in a week or within a relatively small amount of time. NOT. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Not last month or the month before, as one applicant was soon to learn. A quick glance at the Charts indicate why a “day-centering” activity for many might be gathering information and evidence that most agencies and landlords wish to know. Self-initiating could spare you a good deal of waiting and speed up your process. Continue reading ‘The Bumpy, Frustrating Paper Road to Housing’
By Mr. Joseph Perry
The pressure is on now for the shelter staff to find solutions for their mistakes, but the leaders of the management of the shelter are not really stepping forward to lead change for the staff. If staff is over-structured, the environment in the shelter will resonate in ways that will produce anger, resistance, and even defiance.
If constituents have no outlet to express these feelings, or are afraid to raise concerns with staff that have the power to ask them to leave, they may take their anger out on other constituents in the shelter. Continue reading ‘Questions for the Shelter Staff’
By Jim Gillen
It’s a funny thing; perhaps as I am getting older, I tend to look back on songs to where I can trace certain “eras” of my life. The younger generation equates the above title with Coors Lite as the theme song! Lately, I’ve been hitting some of the funky trails, musically speaking that is. And “Love Train” has been jumping out.
When I look at the premise of Recovery, it’s based on love and understanding, joining hands, regardless of background etc. You know, a Love Train I have been running around preparing for National Recovery Month (September), with an emphasis on our State Rally For Recovery Event on Saturday, September 11, 2010. It will be held in downtown Providence, at Roger Williams National Memorial on North Main Street. And it has been a lot of fun. Very energizing. Very warm fuzzy and Love Trainny!! Continue reading ‘People All Over the World Join Hands’
By Stan Kapelewski
“A journey always begins with the first step”
That’s how the saying goes…
But you might find recovery road quite rocky
So walk carefully to avoid stubbing your toes
The knowledge of errors
you have made in the past
Should make you remorseful
and feeling aghast
Then you should set aim for a goal
that’s realistic to reach
One that’s not too difficult
nor a walk on the beach
What may help guide your way
Would be talking to people in the same boat
If you do this with honesty
it may keep you afloat
While charting your course
you may look with chagrin
But Life’s never easy
Let your journey begin
By Joshua-Michael Corrente
The number of homeless Rhode Islanders has increased over the last four months. This is unusual and alarming because in past years, the numbers of people requiring services from emergency shelters always decreased during the summer months.
“Rhode island is experiencing the highest numbers of homeless men, women and children in our history. Our shelters are more often than not overcrowded and the current affordable housing options in our state are woefully inadequate to meet the need,” said Jim Ryczek, executive Director of the RI Coalition for the Homeless. Continue reading ‘Rhode Island’s Summer of Discontent: Overcrowded Shelters’
By Louise Horton
For many years a popular soup kitchen was held in the old Epiphany Episcopal Church on Prairie Avenue in South Providence. After the closing of the church, the volunteers continued to offer the meal there for as long as they could. Finally, it became necessary to move the soup kitchen to a downtown church. They stayed at this convenient location for three years, until the RI Community food bank, not satisfied with the kitchen facilities there, stopped supplying the Epiphany Food Kitchen with food. Continue reading ‘The Spirit of Epiphany: Food for Soul and Body’
Elbert James Moten, aka “Dr. Love”
July 9, 1960 – March 1, 2010
Elbert was born in Providence, the son of James Jones and the late Sally Moten, and sibling to the late Odell, Della and James Moten. He is survived by his youngest sister Margaret Moten, Shirley Robertson, Linda Moten, Curley, David and Stanley Moten and many nieces and nephews. Elbert was a well liked person who enjoyed helping others. He loved music, singing, writing poetry, riding his bike in the country, detailing cars and cleaning things. Elbert volunteered at Mathewson Street Church for 4 years. He always helped out in any way he could, and was entrusted with authority, and well admired. All who have met him know that he was quite the character and enjoyed life to the fullest. He is missed dearly by all. There will be a final service for Elbert on Friday, July 9th at 9am at the North Burial Ground on North Main St. and Branch Ave. in Providence. Donations will be accepted for his burial, and will be greatly appreciated. To donate, contact any representative of Mathewson Street Church, or call 401-331-8900 and leave a message.
By Arline Bolvin
Sitting outside Blue Cross Blue Shield on Exchange Street in Providence surrounded by posh new buildings and the Union Station, the portal by which so many college students exit to their hometowns… It’s a calm lazy summer day, a Friday afternoon no less, when thoughts of the water call those of us so smitten to their shores.
But wait a minute! I may be smitten with the idea of lolling on a boat out on the water but I have no real expectation of spending any time there. You see in reality I’m sitting outside Blue Cross considering my pre-existing condition as I apply for coverage. Sure, I know the insurers have agreed to immediate suspension of the pre-existing condition exclusions that have haunted many a subscriber just applying for coverage before me. But still, the horror stories loom large. As I fill out the application I’m in a sketchy what-if-land that I’d rather avoid. Why such fear and loathing? Well those stories of people being denied coverage, denied care, denied, denied, denied. Continue reading ‘Waiting on Blue Cross’
By Irwin Becker
A.J. Liebling, the famous newspaper critic who wrote the Wayward Press column for the New Yorker (and who worked for several years in the Twenties for the Providence Journal), in a classic piece on who causes strikes, asked what if a paper reported that a company refused to pay decent wages, reduced health benefits, or avoided decent working conditions, and essentially went on strike against its workers? He was just pointing out the obvious unfairness of pro-business newspapers that routinely reported that unions had started a strike because their demands were not being met. Continue reading ‘Do the Math: 200-Member Union Local Versus the Westin Hotel, Part of a $6-Billion Private Real Estate Co. Started in Cranston’
By Melissa Howard
Sometime in June about 950 families (and 1,600 children) did not be receive cash benefits from welfare because of time limits.
In 2008, the welfare system created shorter time limits that dropped nearly one third of those receiving cash assistance.
Because of the new limits, 950 families who have reached their maximum lifetime limit of 48 months, or 24 months within any 60 month period, will lose their cash benefits. The new state limits are considered one of the most restricted in the country. Continue reading ‘RI’s Stricter Limits Drop 950 Families From Public Assistance’
By Silent Lotus
Was as staunch
As an aged troubadour
And the winds lay west of the western shore
Yet so central to the transcendence of vermillion
And caution flew into oblivion and the deep
And you laughed once more
And it was she who
Was as silent as
By Benjamin Ferreira
The eyes have it,
Everything you could ever need
The eyes have it,
They’re filled with greed
The eyes have it,
Now you’ve done the deed
The eyes have it,
Hurry, with due speed
Windows to the soul,
Unspoken and unseen
The wonders of this world,
The wonders of a dream
Anticipation always overwhelms the act
It’s a simple fact
Intellectual curses of the unoccupied mind
Illusionary secrets, always striving to find
A pattern in the chaos, a reason for our tears
A meaning to the emptiness that fills our years.
John Joyce, director of the R.I. Homeless Advocacy Project, during recent testimony before the Senate in favor of adding crimes against the homeless to the state’s hate crime bill. The legislation passed both houses of the General Assembly and became law on July 1st without the Governor’s signature.
This free event had hundreds of people celebrating healthy choices in food, lifestyles and activities. Music provided by Recovery All Stars. Rounding out the program were guest speakers, health screenings and other activities.