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Crossroads Event Draws 350+ Women to Help Homeless Women

Monday, April 04, 2011

 

It was the simple power of women coming together for their fellow women. And it was 350-plus strong.

Crossroads Rhode Island, the largest provider of comprehensive services to Rhode Islanders who are homeless, held a special fundraising event as a culmination of Women Helping Women month, designated by Crossroads to raise awareness and funding for the state’s alarming number of newly homeless women.

A month's worth of activities

Crossroads kicked off the month with an Afternoon Tea at the Statehouse, at which they released the agency’s Report on Women and Homelessness, which underscored the need for better tracking of women and many more services for them.

Fifty prominent women came forward to host Thursday’s event, which has been held annually now for four years. Their efforts to address this unacceptable situation facing women in RI led to a remarkable showing of over 350 women in support of this critical need.

Bringing women together to raise awareness and money

“A couple of years ago, Crossroads saw a need in our community as the number of women facing homelessness continued to increase.  We decided then that it was important to bring women together to help raise awareness and money,” said General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Vice Chair of Crossroads Rhode Island Board of Directors and Chair of the event.  “We have been fortunate to see this event grow each year as more and more women have realized the importance of helping other women.”

“Given today’s challenging economic climate, it’s no surprise that the number of women seeking our services and shelter continues to increase”, noted Anne Nolan, President of Crossroads.  “Since we opened the Women’s Shelter three years ago, it has operated over capacity.  We now have the overflow sleeping on cots in the dining room surrounded by all their worldly possessions.”

Ten thousands bed nights of shelter

The Women’s Shelter at Crossroads has a 41-person capacity, but Crossroads has served an average of 60 women per night since it opened. To date, Crossroads has served more than 400 women and has provided over 10,000 bed nights of shelter. The majority are newly homeless, many affected by the economic downturn.

Proceeds from the Women Helping Women event will help support programs for homeless women and will enable Crossroads to continue operating the service-enriched women’s shelter located at 160 Broad Street, Providence.   

Unique services for unique women's needs

The Crossroads Women’s Shelter is unique because services are focused entirely on the needs of women who are homeless. The shelter provides an opportunity for women to stay for extended periods, which gives them time to utilize the services and supports they need to get back on their feet.  Crossroads helps them with emotional support, job training, education, finding safe homes, and ultimately a better life.  In contrast, most homeless shelters require that guests leave daily by 6 AM with all their baggage in tow.

The service enriched shelter is designed to respect the special needs of homeless women and ensures a safe environment with a comfortable day room, and clean and modern shower and laundry facilities. Crossroads provides women staying at the shelter with intensive support services including: case management, counseling, life skills, financial literacy classes, and assistance with housing searches. Case managers assist the women to ensure access to health care, adult education, job training and employment programs to help them move out of homelessness permanently.

To learn more about how you can help, contact Karen Santilli at 277-4328 or visit the Crossroads Rhode Island Web site or Facebook page.

To download the report, “A Report on Women and Homelessness," go here.

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