NEW: Homelessness on the Rise in RI
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Homelessness advocates are calling on Governor Lincoln Chafee to address the long-term solutions to the state’s growing homeless problem.
“Over the fall we were routinely seeing over a hundred individuals a night in a facility where our capacity is 88,” said Jean Johnson, Executive Director of the House of Hope Community Development Corporation. “Unfortunately once we run out of beds, guys are sleeping sitting upright in chairs around a table.”
Dr. Eric Hirsch, Professor at Providence College and Chair of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Committee, believes the shortfall number of 408 actually underestimates the problem. Hirsch also pointed out that the count does not include those who are couch surfing or living in doubled up situations.
“These increases in homelessness are being driven by economic forces: unemployment, foreclosures and evictions,” stated Hirsch. “It is morally wrong to allow people to die on our streets when it would cost very little to give them a warm, clean bed to sleep in. We need to provide emergency shelter now, but over the long run it will be most cost effective to provide permanent housing for those families and individuals who cannot access what is a very expensive rental housing market.”