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Saturday, December 24, 2022

RI Coalition to End Homelessness responds to McKee Administration letter

Calls McKee claim they are ‘trying to keep people homeless’ absurd

By Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness in UpRiseRI

Last week, the State House encampment was swept aside as cleanup crews removed tents and belongings from unhoused Rhode Islanders following a court ruling against unhoused Rhode Islanders setting up tents on State House grounds. 

Additionally, the State has continued to make inaccurate statements regarding data collected by the Homeless Information Management System (HMIS) and outreach providers.

The Coalition has responded to the Rhode Island Department of Housing’s letter that was issued to us last week. The Coalition believes now that the focus needs to be on the other 500+ Rhode Islanders who remain unhoused and is proposing some solutions to immediately offer shelter to Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness.

Over the past few weeks, the State has provided reporters and the public with inaccurate statements about the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. The mission of the Coalition is to advance lasting solutions to prevent and eradicate homelessness for all Rhode Islanders. 

Any statement that we are “trying to keep people homeless” or withholding data is absurd and diminishes the complexity of supporting the fair and equitable distribution of shelter resources within Rhode Island.

We, like the State, do not want Rhode Islanders living outside, particularly in this cold weather. Partners (including the Coalition) shared their concerns and proposed solutions to the State in the fall of 2022 via a crisis plan.  

We called on the Governor and the Department of Housing to immediately: 

1.     Deploy $15 million dollars’ worth of resources to bring 380 shelter beds online and ensure adequate Housing Problem Solving resources;

2.     Declare Homelessness in Rhode Island as a State of Emergency (as other communities have); &

3.     Reenact the Interagency Council on Homelessness, tasked with developing a State Plan to Address Homelessness.

We look forward to working with the State to address this crisis. If provided the resources, we could immediately reach out to every unsheltered Rhode Islander to connect them to an open bed or support. 

Our focus now should be working together until everyone has a warm place this winter.” It’s time to put this plan in place to ensure that every unhoused Rhode Islander is a priority, not just those in the State’s front yard.

Formerly the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness works collaboratively with advocates, providers, and faith-based organizations to create and advance lasting solutions to prevent and end homelessness. Notably, the Coalition, alongside advocates and constituents, lobbied and successfully passed the country’s first Homeless Bill of Rights in June of 2012 (bill S-2052). Day-to-day the Coalition runs lead on the state’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the permanent housing placement end of the Coordinated Entry System (CES) as well as the call center (available 365 days), holds legal clinics, facilitates training sessions, and more.