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HomesRI advances their legislative priorities at the State House



HomesRI advocated for their legislative priorities on Thursday at the Rhode Island State House beginning with a short program of speakers followed by direct outreach to legislators. HomesRI was created to shine a spotlight on the need for increased investments in community development and affordable homes across Rhode Island.

HomesRI is specifically calling for the passage of the following legislation:

  • reduce legal barriers for Rhode Island renters (S0322/H5075)
  • protect Rhode Islanders from housing discrimination (S0331/H5137)
  • invest $5 million in building and preserving affordable homes (H5858)
Kasim Yarn

Kasim Yarn, Rhode Island’s first Director of Veterans Affairs, hosted the speaking portion of the program. “I’m a firm believer that you can tell a state by how we treat their veterans, our disabled, our children and those experiencing some form of poverty.”

“There’s those of us that’ve been called to be the voice of the least of society. So the strong have to help the weak,” said Senator Harold Metts (Democrat, District 6, Providence). “I was honored I was honored to join Representative Shelby Maldonado [on a bill] that’s sealing the court records. So if I take my landlord the court and win, well, a new prospective landlord in the future will see I’ve been to court and then I’m discriminated against.”

“This event is one of over 100 events occurring across the nation in 34 states,” said Tori Bourret, a Housing Advocacy Organizer for the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“I am here because I want to be the voice of someone who is not able to speak up about what happened to them and the process that they went through,” said Kettia Dorce, a mother and a resident of Central Falls who recently experienced homelessness. “I was able to gain two or three jobs to get back on my feet, however, someone else might not have had that process.”

“Access to affordable housing should be a right, not a privilege,” said Song Braddock a youth with with Foster Forward. “There are many barriers to trying to get housing. For instance, if you’ve been evicted before, they hold that against you. If you have a [housing] voucher, they hold that against you.”

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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.