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Direct Action for Rights and Equality rallies against evictions and for housing

“We really need to create more housing,” said Terri Hodge, an organizer with DARE. “It’s not about having the money to do it, but the will to get it done.”
Photo for Direct Action for Rights and Equality rallies against evictions and for housing

Published on October 28, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

“This is the People’s Agenda!” said Terri Hodge, an organizer with DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) on Saturday. “We are here to address evictions during a pandemic [and] the current housing crisis. We are here to address homelessness. And we are here to address not having an [eviction] moratorium to protect tenants and homeowners during their time of need – during this pandemic.

“The end goal here is to provide housing for all [and] To stop evictions now!”

Wright was speaking to about 100 people gathered by the fountain in Burnside Park in downtown Providence on Saturday.

“A lot of individuals are very uneducated about what we go through being homeless and that part of the reason we are treated differently is because we are seen not as equal citizens of this community but generalized as a group of people who are a problem to this generation,” said Tasia Hodge, a part-time advocate at Crossroads Rhode Island and a formerly homeless person.

Hodge contracted Covid last summer, and immediately fell behind on her rent and bills. She immediately applied for assistance through Rent Relief RI.

“I told my landlord about my situation and I’m very grateful that she was understanding and agreed to wait for Rent Relief to help out.”

In the end, Rent Relief paid Hodge’s back rent, and three extra months on top.

“We need not only the tents patience and willpower, but the landlord’s understanding and compassion as well,” said Hodge.

“I ain’t never had, in 61 years, a house in Rhode Island,” said Ricardo, who is “completely” visually impaired. “They forget about the little guy. I am the little guy. All I’m searching or is a home…”

“It’s crazy that we have to get together like this just to demand a place for people to sleep and eat,” said Cedric Russell and organizer with the Behind the Walls Committee at DARE. Russell has declared his candidacy for Providence City Council. “It’s really going to be cold out here these next couple of months. There’s going to be snow on the ground – Below 30 degree temperatures – and all we’re asking is for people to be [made] safe.”

“We need housing and we need it affordable,” said Brenda Taylor an organizers with DARE’s Tenant and Homeowners Association. “We want everyone to be housed in their own place… and we have the money that can do it. We just got to get out there and start building and start renovating.”

“I am well known when it comes to evictions,” said housing advocate and mother Sucely Murillo. “I haven’t been quiet. I haven’t stopped putting people on blast and I have been looking for accountability.

“This is not about landlords. This is about the city. This is about code enforcement.”

Marillo has fought landlords over code enforcement, citing vermin in her rented apartments that threaten th health and safety of her family. For her advocacy, landlords too often move to evict her.

“I have family. I have kids. That’s a health situation. So I’m calling out code enforcement. I’m calling out city leaders.

“The total amount of evictions during this pandemic – in Rhode Island – are 3036,” said Terri Hodge, wrapping up the event. “3036 families have been displaced in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that is killing people. We are still wearing masks to protect ourselves, and evictions are still happening…

“We really need to create more housing. It’s not about having the money to do it, but the will to get it done.”

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