Health Care

Residents of condemned apartment complex will not be homeless

“We only have a matter of hours before we are literally homeless,” said Abreu. “We have been placed in this situation because of negligence by management.”
Photo for Residents of condemned apartment complex will not be homeless

Published on July 9, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

Harrison Tuttle, Executive Director of the Black Lives Matter RI PAC, Representative Brandon Potter (Democrat, District 16, Cranston) and residents gathered outside an apartment complex in Cranston on Thursday to make the case for continued emergency services for the 39 families evicted from the building on Tuesday.

On Tuesday a walkway on the second floor of the apartment complex collapsed, prompting the eviction of all the families. Though first floor residents may be able to return soon, second floor residents may be inconvenienced for months, said Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins (Republican). Hopkins arranged for residents to be sheltered at a Providence hotel owned by a friend of his for $4000 a day. But on Thursday morning Hopkins announced that the hotel stay was over and suggested residents find shelter with friends or relatives.

Kenneth Hopkins

This prompted the BLM RI PAC and Representative Potter to hold the press conference, with residents, outside the apartment complex.

Harrison Tuttle

“This press conference is to advocate for the residents to have a place to stay while being pretty much homeless at this point,” said Tuttle. “This is an issue of not being the state’s or city’s fault, but of people not having a place to live. In the midst of a housing crisis right now, it is critical that the city or whoever be able to step up to put these people in houses for as long as it takes.”

The hotel rooms were being paid for by CCAP (Comprehensive Community Action Program), but funding was only for two days. Meals for residents were provided by the Red Cross.

“I have personally spoken to over 20 residents here today who have told me that as of tomorrow they do not have another place to go,” said Representative Potter. “They do not have a friend to stay with safely, they do not have a family to stay with safely.

“I want to remind us all that this is against the backdrop of an already ongoing housing crisis in the State of Rhode Island. On any giving night in this state we have over 400 people who are living on the streets or in cars. We have over 1200 people who are taking advantage of a shelter or some other accommodation by state agencies and nonprofits.”

Resident Ruth Abreu started her comments by thanking Mayor Hopkins for providing a roof over residents heads for the last two nights. “We only have a matter of hours before we are literally homeless,” said Abreu. “We have been placed in this situation because of negligence by management.”

Abreu called out the apartment complex’s owner Josh Hennessy of Hennessy Property Management. “If you’re really a man, step up to the plate. Face us and help us. You put us in this situation.”

“I have worked with kids that have been displaced or were homeless,” said Providence Public Schoolteacher Chris Grogan, who has lived in the apartment complex for ten years. “I never thought I would be in a situation where I, myself, would be like that. It’s jarring. It’s awful. It’s something that should not be wished on anyone.”

Q&A

Mayor Hopkins took the mic with some applause from residents, and promised to be with residents until the situation is resolved. CCAP, he said, agreed to provide funding until Friday. He thanked Executive Director Tuttle for the opportunity to speak.

“I can assure you, these people will not be homeless come tomorrow,” said Mayor Hopkins, who said he would tap into city coffers as a last resort. In the meantime he he working to se if ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) to see if there are funds to help.

Mayor Hopkins is also working to hold the owners of the property responsible.

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