Archive for the 'News' Category

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Mr. Perry’s Service


Held at the Mathewson Street Church in Providence


Arcade Moment: The Midnight Moment Outreach to the Downtrodden

Try to imagine what it is like to sleep on a hard grimy floor in an environment that stinks of urine. Aside from the stench, you are vulnerable to any person that happens upon you as you sleep. There are predators, and for this reason your “pillow” contains your most valuable possessions and the rest of your bags are nestled tight against you.
Still imagining? Think about what it must be like to wake up having none of the common comforts that most people have. There is no toilet, no shower, no Mr. Coffee, no privacy, just your belongings. Even though you need to use a bathroom, the reality is that there are very few and the distance between them makes walking difficult. Businesses selectively make their restrooms available and they are not hospitable to the downtrodden. Think hard about this one until you squirm a bit; you are not at all vital to society or you would at least have a regular restroom to use; the most basic human function.

Now, exhaust odor mixes with the urine stench as the street below becomes alive with noisy traffic. Being in the Arcade and all, you are smack in the middle of what is known as the “Financial District” of downtown Providence. As you step out onto the sidewalk, you are facing the front of the luxurious Hampton Inn. The sidewalk is filled with busy people scurrying about, with briefcases or back packs — purposeful.

You are sore from sleeping on a hard floor; you are hungry and the weight of your belongings is already starting to drain you. You have no pep. You avert your eyes as you plod along because if you look you will see the smugness, the judgmental stares, or worse, they look right through you.

You might head to a spot that serves breakfast to the homeless or perhaps you know of a place where you can at least freshen up a bit. You usually really have nowhere to go. No matter how you spend your day, however, your goal is always survival: getting fed, avoiding extreme temperatures, protecting belongings and having a place to rest your head.

Now, envision a life without a single person that genuinely cares about you. You have peers, acquaintances, some you even call “friends.” Sadly, they are mostly survivors like you; living day to day, seeking their own creature comforts, almost dog eat dog. You do not have two nickels to rub together or a rock to stand on.

So, where will you sleep tonight? The urine soaked floor? A sidewalk, or in a patch of woods, standing up…”

Will you find shelter if it rains?

The Midnight Moment Outreach to the Downtrodden
1643 Warwick Avenue  PMB 171
Warwick, RI 02889
(401) 837-0861

“One measure of likeness to Christ is sensitivity to the suffering of others.”


In Memory of Ernie Marot

Ernest B. Marot, a lifetime resident of Pawtucket, died Tuesday, April 26th. He had run the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen. We wrote his experiences and gave him our Rainbow Award Nov. 2009 (page 4). Also, this February (page 11) we wrote of his continuing volunteer efforts.

Ernie was the Faculty Chef for Providence College for 18 years, retiring in 1993. He then went on to a lifelong dream of feeding the hungry by founding the Pawtuckey Soup Kitchen, running it for another 18 years. He was awarded the Jefferson Award (NBC Channel 10) and is in the Pawtucket Hall of Fame. He is known for helping others. He has run a program to help get Christmas gifts for homeless children and raised about 1/4 million dollars for the Meeting Street School, a school for disadvantaged children.

He leaves his wife and three of his five children. He has 8 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

Burial was at Notre Dame Cemetery. It was suggested that gifts in his memory be made to the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen or ALS Association in Warwick.


Street Sights Staff Members Receive Awards

Melissa Howard and Louisa Smith

By Stan Kapelewski

On Wednesday, April 13th Serve Rhode Island had their VolunCheers 2011 event at Twin Rivers in Lincoln, Rhode Island to recognize all of the outstanding volunteers in the State.

Melissa Howard and Louisa Smith received the award for their incredible volunteer work at Street Sights. Cassandra Tribe received the award from the Beacon Hospice for her friendly visits and vigil work with terminally ill patients.

Congratulations! Thanks for all that you do!


You Gotta Have Sole

By Erik Gould

Not so long ago Nicholas Lowinger had a revelation. He says, “not too many people think about donating shoes, and when they do mostly what they donate are very used shoes.” Nicholas is in the seventh grade and for as long as he can remember, he has been giving clothes and other items to anyone who needs them, especially to other children. According to his mother Lori, Nicholas has always been that kind of kid. Together they visited shelters and homes throughout the state making donations and visiting with people. It was on one of those visits where Nicholas met a little boy who needed new shoes, but all Nicholas had that day was a pair of boots that were too big for the boy. Nicholas wished he had some that would fit the boy better. That’s when he knew he wanted to provide new shoes for needy children.

“A lot of people think that just because someone is homeless that anything  you give them they will be happy. But just because someone has a different financial status from you doesn’t mean that they don’t also like to get new things once in a while, just like you do.” Beyond just having something new, he goes on to explain that for everybody, shoes are a very personal piece of clothing, “Everyone wears their shoes differently,” and  wearing shoes that do not have a proper fit can cause back problems and all sorts of other health problems. Continue reading ‘You Gotta Have Sole’


Stepping Out

By Cassandra Tribe
For 33 years, Sister Mary Riley has been a part of the annual Good Friday Walk to End Hunger and Homelessness. For many, she is the face of the walk, a tireless organizer and source of energy for this effort. Originally started as a Roman Catholic effort to raise money and awareness, the Good Friday Walk has grown to be an ecumenical endeavor that embraces many faiths. Gathering at nine different churches across Providence (and even in Coventry) participants walk to the State House for a rally.

The walkers were sponsored and they raise between 25 and 40 thousand dollars a year. The organizers state that not one penny of the money raised goes anywhere but directly to help programs like meal sites, food pantries, clothing closets and other outreach programs. All of the organizers, bus services, refreshments, speakers and everything else involved in making the walk happen are provided through donations of time, services and supplies. This year, recipients of funds include: Amos House, AIDS Care Ocean State, River United Methodist Church food pantry, meal site and clothing closet in Woonsocket, a high school in Haiti and several other programs. Continue reading ‘Stepping Out’


DCYF Cutting Funds

By Melissa Howard
Teacher layoffs, programs being cut, people are finding new ways of cutting cost. The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) said that they could save cost through home- base services. The plan is to move many of the children out of shelters, group homes and residential treatment programs.

DCYF’s new ‘system- of- care’ model is a philosophy emphasizing family preservation using home based services. With the budget crisis as it is and protesters going to the state house to protest Chafee’s spending cuts, the state’s child-welfare officials are embracing a plan they say will cut $25 million from the DCYF’s budget starting July 1. Continue reading ‘DCYF Cutting Funds’


The End is Near

By Melissa Howard

Starting on March 15th, there was action taking place on the steps of the State House, letting people know that the winter homeless shelters will be closing. From April 15th to May 31st.

There will be a number of people looking for a safe and warm place to sleep at night. Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project wanted to let our State lawmakers beaware of
this issue.

RIHap wants to make people aware that there will be 136 people out on the street once these shelters close and they will not have a place to go. With the shelter systems full already, there will be no room for anyone else. Continue reading ‘The End is Near’


Libya’s Civil Unrest and U.S. Gas Prices

By Dennis Boisvert

As thousands of foreigners struggle to flee a war torn Libya and as fighting escalates in that country, the price of gas in the US is going up even though Libya’s oil out-put is less than 2% of the world’s daily supply.

OPEC, The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is ready to make up that shortage and on March 8, agreed to do so. So supply and demand are met but gas prices keep going up. It is fear and the turmoil in the Middle East that is sending the price of oil up. What had started off as a popular uprising sweeping across the Arab world has turned into a Civil War in Libya and this has increased political instability and uncertainty in the Middle East?

Protests against Gaddafi’s rule started on February 15 with two hundred demonstrators in front of police headquarters in Benghazi with arrest of Fathi Teabil, a rights activist. That sparked widespread protest. Continue reading ‘Libya’s Civil Unrest and U.S. Gas Prices’


Where the Elite Meet to Treat the Homeless

By William K. Harter

Before and during the 20th century, Harvard University in Cambridge, MA has been considered one of the top five universities in the USA. It also is one of the most expensive to attend. It is located in Harvard Square, an area of one-way streets, mix of small stores, bookshops, restaurants and such, geared to the wealthy and college students. Because of heavy foot traffic, the subway entrance to the square is also the gathering place for the homeless and panhandlers.

Daily from November 15 to April 15 there is a shelter called Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. The shelter brings together students of one of the world’s wealthiest and most prestigious university with its neighbors, who struggle to survive.

The shelter is at University Lutheran Church. The church is not affiliated with Harvard, but is surrounded by the university. The shelter was started in 1983. Continue reading ‘Where the Elite Meet to Treat the Homeless’


Hope for the Homeless in Newport

By William K. Harter

What does Newport have in common with New York City, Denver and New Orleans? It is learning to resolve the homeless problem through a non-traditional “Housing First” program.

“This has been my collaboration. It’s been one of the most exciting, spontaneous efforts I have seen in my career,” said Don Boucher, Program Director of Housing First Rhode Island.

James Winters of the Newport police made a 48-minute documentary on homelessness. As winter approached in early November, the film was shown at Channing Memorial Church’s Action Committee on Housing and Homelessness. Sally Hanchett and Betsy Dees co-chair the committee. Betsy said, “The film inspired me to pursue a solution to find a safe, warm place for some of Newport’s 12 to 16 identified homeless individuals.” Checking around, a fund was found for “helping the poor and needy in Newport.” They applied and got a $5,500 grant. Continue reading ‘Hope for the Homeless in Newport’


School for Shelter: The Problem with Women

By Cassandra Tribe

It seems fitting that the last installment of this series comes at the end of the International Month of the Woman. The homeless population in the past few years has undergone a period of rapid growth and a demographic change from primarily men, to mostly women and women with children. This change is not addressed on local, national or international levels.

“The main reason for homelessness among women and their dependent children is poverty,” says Dr. N’Dow, who is also Assistant Secretary General and head of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), based in Nairobi, Kenya. “Women are doubly disadvantaged by their need to earn a living while providing care for family members and running households.”

Of the estimated 1.3 billion people living in poverty around the world, 70 percent are women and girls. Women and girls are also the fastest increasing group of impoverished, a process called “the global feminization of poverty.” Continue reading ‘School for Shelter: The Problem with Women’


Updates from Crossroads

By JoAnn Dyes

Dental is available for pregnant women and children under the age of nineteen by appointment only on Fridays. If you miss an appointment you will have to wait six months for another appointment.

New at the health center: there is psychiatrist 4 hours a week. There are hopes to expand services for the homeless who have substance and/or underlying mental health issues.
This makes the health center at Crossroads an integrated primary care clinic to serve the homeless community.  Providence Health Center at Crossroads is a primary health center service for adults experiencing homeless.

A homeless person is defined as an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets, staying in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facility, abandoned building or vehicle.

The goal is to manage the health needs and chronic illnesses for homeless patients including referrals to specialist when necessary with 50 hours of operation per week and devoted staff.


RICH Annual Luncheon

By Melissa Howard

On March 28, at the Crown Plaza in Warwick, advocates, state represents, including Governor Lincoln Chafee and other organizations, gathered for Rhode Island Coalition’s annual luncheon.

The ceremony was hosted by Mario Hilario, of NBC 10. There were greetings from the Mayor of Warwick, Scott Advedisian and also from Governor Chafee.

The key speaker was Laura Green Zeilinger, of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, Lead Regional Coordinator. She spoke of how beneficial the program ‘Open Doors’ would be, in the fight to ending homelessness in the state of Rhode Island. Open Doors, was part of the President Obama’s 10 year plan to ending homelessness that he introduced last year. Ms. Zeilinger congratulated Governor Chafee for restarting the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which fell by the wayside in 2009. Continue reading ‘RICH Annual Luncheon’


Rally in Rhode Island

Photos by Erik Gould

RI unions and others rally in solidarity with Wisconsin public workers at the RI State House Tuesday, February 22.

About 500 people gathered to show support for public employees in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana who are protesting moves in their states to strip collective bargaining rights from union workers.

The main message was one of solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. Union leaders emphasized that the rally was not a protest against Rhode Island politicians, who are largely friendly toward organized labor.

The speeches were greeted with shouts and chants of “hey, hey, ho, ho – union busting got to go.” Continue reading ‘Rally in Rhode Island’


Will This Be The Second Great Depression?

By Melissa Howard

What is the difference between our time now and the Great Depression of the 1930’s?

A few key points:

1. In 1933, unemployment was up 25% and there were 14 million American’s out of work. In Rhode Island now, unemployment is at 11.2%.

2. In 1933, there was an abundance of foreclosures. In some areas, a sum of 200 farms was foreclosed on in a week.  Now it is said that there were 4,738 homes foreclosed on in Rhode Island last year. Continue reading ‘Will This Be The Second Great Depression?’


Hospice for the Homeless

By Cassandra Tribe

Hospice specializes in providing palliative care at the end of a person’s life. Simply put, they help the person to be comfortable and to manage any pain so they can maintain their dignity in their passing.

Hospice also provides numerous services to help the patient and their loved ones get through the anticipatory grief of death and the grief that comes after their loved one has died.

End-of-life care is something that is only beginning to make its way into the realm of socially acceptable discussions. Hospice programs are becoming more of the norm in our healthcare system as our population ages.

The concept of having the right to die at home and with dignity is something that mainstream society has begun to address with the presence of living wills and care-directives. Continue reading ‘Hospice for the Homeless’


In Celebration of Women

By Cassandra Tribe

March brought us the small prize of International Women’s Month. March 8th was International Women’s day, a celebration of women’s history and present influence that in many countries was a national holiday. It also served to underscore the deep imbalance in the industrialized world, particularly in the USA, between equality of genders.

As of September 2010, women in the US earned 82 cents to every dollar a man made in the same job. Most of these women also hold the second unpaid position of being the primary care giver for over 90 percent of the families in the US. This “second job” while valued at $45,000 a year, is unpaid, unrecognized and lacking cultural respect as a profession.

Instead of striving for equality in pay and benefits in paid positions, women are told to celebrate the closeness of pay but that it is “not time” for equality. As for benefits for women who work as primary caregivers for their families, there is not even equality when it comes to property ownership and legal rights in the event of a divorce. Continue reading ‘In Celebration of Women’


Poverty, Hunger and Joblessness Provoke Protests Throughout the Arab World

By Louisa Smith

On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, helping fuel the protests that have spread across the Arab world over the past few months and have pushed two of the region’s presidents out of office.

Bouzazi lived in a rural town in Tunisia called Sidi Bouzid, where unemployment is estimated to be over 30%. The 26-year-old was working as a street vendor, selling enough fruit to provide for himself and the seven family members he lived with. Continue reading ‘Poverty, Hunger and Joblessness Provoke Protests Throughout the Arab World’


From the Heart

By JoAnn Dyes

On a cold February night in Providence, at the McAuley House, on Elmwood Ave., where the lights were on, the people were streaming in to see the art works from the artist of McAuley House.

The art was displayed among the walls, on cards and on postcards. Which were all for sale.  I spoke to Meagan R., an artist and a volunteer at the McAuley House. She has been working hard on her artwork for about a year.
Ronald ‘Ron’, was another artist, whose art was of landscapes. He discovered art while he was in the hospital and stuck with it as well as teaching Origami. He hopes to develop his talents in both areas now that he has moved from being homeless to his own apartment.

All of the art was beautiful and interesting.  Aileen Hayes, Ann Nolan, Kyle MacDonald, Jim Gillen, Were some of the notable patrons to take part in the “From The Heart” art show.

A thank you goes out to all the artists with all of their beautiful works and to the volunteers for all their help with the event.