homeless

Chaiel Schaffel

Summer is a dangerous time to be homeless. When temperatures top 90 degrees, as they did again on Tuesday, there’s a risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunstroke.

To reduce this risk, outreach workers have been hitting the streets, hoping to convince more people to come inside. One of those workers, Chris Curtin, was out on a recent morning, as he is most weekdays.

In Heat Wave, Dangers For The Homeless

Jul 4, 2018
John Bender

With daytime heat indexes soaring into the 90s, homeless residents are finding it hard to get respite from the baking heat. Their primary concerns include heat exhaution and access to air conditing.

John May / Team Williams LLC

Providence has launched a mobile unit to give showers, haircuts, and medical services to residents who are homeless. Organizers believe this is first trailer in the country to offer all these services in one place. 

John Bender / RIPR

Even as homeless shelters swell over capacity, social service workers are scrambling to get more people off the streets and out of the bitter cold.

Shelters Fill Up As Temperatures Drop

Dec 28, 2017
National Weather Service

New England faced a cold and blustery start to the day on Thursday, with temperatures just barely crawling out of the single digits, and the sun doing its best to warm the frozen ground. 

According to the National Weather Service, the wind chill in Providence measured as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.

RIPR FILE

A new report on homeless youth in Rhode Island found at least 172 people between the ages of 18 and 24 using emergency shelters in 2015. The report comes from nonprofit Crossroads, a homeless services provider. Crossroads Director Karen Santilli said it’s difficult to track homeless young people.

“They are couch surfing, they are hanging out with friends, they’re finding places to stay in encampments, that are out, off the shelter system,” said Santilli. “So the fact that 172 came into the shelter system is high, but we know the numbers are higher than that.”

RIPR FILE

A new national report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development finds chronic homelessness on the rise in Rhode Island. The state is bucking a slight national decline.

The report found the number of Rhode Island homeless on a given night increased by more than 4 percent over the last year. But the number of families and veterans experiencing homelessness dropped by about 25 and 15 percent respectively.

RIPR FILE

Advocates working to end homelessness in Rhode Island release their annual report card Thursday looking at Rhode Island’s homeless population. For the second year in a row, the number of homeless declined. Jim Ryczek, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to go behind the numbers.

Last month, hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the state to survey the state’s homeless population. They checked shelters, walked the streets and combed the woods; seeking out homeless residents and asking questions about their health and needs. The data were then compiled and analyzed by homeless advocates. Jim Ryczek executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless shared what they found with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch.

In late August, the power was shut off at the River United Methodist Church. The church, in the heart of downtown Woonsocket, was about a thousand bucks in arrears on its electric bill.  The guy from National Grid apologized for doing what he had to do.

Church members, who specialize in doing a whole lot with very little, scrambled to do what they always do.   They took food from freezers and refrigerators and headed to a nearby park to feed hungry people. 

Bucking a national trend, a new report finds Rhode Island saw a drop in homeless school children in the 2012-2013 school year.

The report from the American Institutes for Research National Center on Family Homelessness found 1,849 homeless children in the 2012-2013 school year. That was down from 1,984 homeless children the prior year.

Starting Monday hundreds of volunteers will fan out across the state to take a comprehensive count of the homeless. The goal is to understand their housing needs, and end homelessness in the state by the end of 2016.

They’ll check the shelters, walk the streets, and comb the woods seeking out the homeless, and asking a series of questions about their needs. Once the data are compiled, Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Jim Ryczek will have a grasp on who needs immediate help.

Thanks to legislation that passed the General Assembly, banks in Rhode Island will not be able to evict renters in properties they’ve foreclosed on. That is, unless there’s just cause or until the property has been bought by a new owner. Rhode Island Coalition for the homeless head Jim Ryczek said the new law will protect people who might otherwise have nowhere to go.

“When the economy tanked in 2007-2008, the shelter system saw more than a 300 percent rise in the number of people coming in and naming eviction as one of the issues that caused them to be homeless.”

We’re in for a wild week in the weather department.  The forecast is for rain today with a high of 48. But by tomorrow the high will plunge into the teens.  One population that is most vulnerable during these cold snaps is the homeless.

StoryCorps Comes To Rhode Island

Dec 5, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Story Corps, the organization that collects the voices and histories of people across the country is in Rhode Island.

It is a chance for homeless residents across the state to tell their story.

In the offices of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, pairs of Rhode Islanders interviewed each other. One of them had experienced homelessness, and they talked about their lives on the streets.

Richard Staples interviewed Don Larson, a man who was homeless when he was 16-years-old.

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