By David Eisenberger
On January 11th and the 20th there was a meeting at the State House in room 313 to stress the immediate need for over
The panel of State Senators listened to various organizations. The basic need, as always, is funding. RICH, The Rhode Island Foundation and House of Hope all gave reasons why funding is the number one priority.
The shelters are overcrowded!
Senator John J. Tassoni, who I’m tipping my hat off to, recently visited Harrington Hall, the largest shelter in this state, on a night were 130 people were crammed into space with a safe capacity of 88.
He called the conditions deplorable and compared them to Guantanamo Bay. There are similar shelters here that are state mandated. Now that the veil has been lifted, so our politicians can see the unsafe, unclean conditions in the shelter, let’s go forward with caution.
What is going to replace Harrington Hall, which is run by the House of Hope? Will this be another Welcome Arnold? Will the old Training School, which is fully lit, heated and with medical facilities be utilized?
I’d like to quote John J. Tassoni, who stated, “We have put a man on the moon, have gone where no man has ever gone before, but can anyone cook a hamburger?”
You see some shelters don’t have food provided as Harrington Hall has there. Also a concern, why are there people waiting at the doors just to get a bed? Why in inclement weather are these people kicked to the curb? There’s a myriad of questions, which right now… needs answers.
Rhode Island doesn’t have any stimulus funds coming in and whatever funding is not used by the end of the federal fiscal year will be lost.
We must clearly think of how this is going to be approached. On the 20th with Crossroads, RIMFAC and The United Way they all stressed the same issues as RICH, The Rhode Island Foundation and House of Hope. Which is the need for an implementation of supportive and affordable housing.
We also need to solve chronic homelessness. Detox in this state is a joke; we need a coherent and safe shelter system.
I like the vision that State Senator John J. Tassoni has. What he needs is the system to change and modernize. Show some compassion when compassion is needed. Put the funds to good use, instead of letting them go to waste.
This is a glimmer of hope and we must work with the advocates to make sure this will work. Team is not spelled with an I… It is time for major changes.