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DARE challenges Rhode Island Housing over contract with Chicago-based consulting firm Camiros



The Tenant and Homeowner Association (THA) from Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) held an action outside Rhode Island Housing in Providence Wednesday morning questioning the hiring of Camiros Ltd, a consulting firm from Chicago, to conduct community engagement on the redevelopment of Barbara Jordan II apartments, a recently foreclosed, 74 unit low-income housing project in South Providence.

DARE and THA members have been following the degradation of the buildings and units at Barbara Jordan II for years, including supporting former residents to find new housing when they were given mobile vouchers to move. Yet Rhode Island Housing did not invite DARE to the meeting to discuss plans for community engagement with Camiros Ltd.

“They went out of town, to Chicago, to hire a consulting firm to tell us how to fix our own houses,” said DARE boardmember Malchus Mills. “We have enough data within Providence itself. We have data coming out of our ears. And all we have to do is put the right people in the right room, and sit down and start to discuss how we are going to save Barbara Jordan II.”

“Who is in charge of low income housing?” asked Rawlene Burgess, from DARE. “That’s the person that’s responsible. It wasn’t the tenants fault that they had to be put out and displaced… They paid their rent. They did what they were supposed to. And yet they were put out.”

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A pantomime Camiros was paraded up and down the sidewalk…

…and the What Cheer? Band was on hand to keep the action festive.

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.