Press Release

RI Coalition to End Homelessness Statement Condemning Raids on Encampments

The Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness condemns recent raids on homeless encampments, considering them to exacerbate trauma and vulnerability. The Coalition calls for compassionate solutions to homelessness, urging officials to halt raids and engage in constructive dialogue with service providers. They also encourage public support and continue to advocate for the homeless community.

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness strongly condemns recent raids on encampments throughout the state, including the recent raid in Cranston requiring residents to leave by tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM.

“These raids not only violate the fundamental rights of individuals experiencing homelessness but also continue to perpetuate a cycle of marginalization and discrimination for Rhode Islanders who do not have a place to go,” said Caitlin Frumerie, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. “Rather than resorting to raids and forced evictions, we ask local officials to lead thoughtfully and compassionately. We must prioritize long-term strategies that address the root causes of homelessness and provide sustainable support to those in need. Until we have enough housing for everyone, encampment raids are unfair, inhumane, and cruel.

January’s Point In Time Count highlighted that 1,810 Rhode Islanders were experiencing homelessness. Additionally, 334 Rhode Islanders were experiencing unsheltered homelessness, a 370% increase from 2019. With shelters consistently at maximum capacity, where are Rhode Islanders expected to go?

Forcing Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness from the sites they have come to call home serves only to increase their trauma and elevate their vulnerability. Such involuntary relocation pushes them further into the shadows, depriving them of their belongings, community, and critical outreach support, making it even harder for individuals to break free from the cycle of homelessness.

We call upon city officials in Cranston and other municipalities to immediately halt these encampment raids. We ask that they, instead, engage in meaningful dialogue with service providers to develop and fund compassionate and effective solutions to support those experiencing homelessness. We must join together to create a society that works for all of us and is inclusive, equitable, and responsive to all its members’ needs, especially those most vulnerable.

We also encourage community members in these cities and across our state to stand in solidarity with those experiencing homelessness, to challenge the stigma and misconceptions surrounding homelessness, and to support organizations and initiatives working to address this critical issue. People experiencing homelessness are people just like us. They are working families; they volunteer in our communities. They should not be defined by their struggles or health issues, and at any given time, any one of us can become homeless.

We at the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness remain committed to advocating for the rights of people experiencing homelessness. If you are facing homelessness, please call (401) 277-4316, and agents will be available to help you in your preferred language.

About Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness
Formerly the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the Coalition works collaboratively with advocates, providers, and faith-based organizations to create and advance lasting solutions to prevent and end homelessness. Notably, the Coalition, alongside advocates and constituents, lobbied and successfully passed the country’s first Homeless Bill of Rights in June of 2012 (bill S-2052). Day-to-day, the Coalition runs lead on RI’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the shelter and permanent housing placement end of the Coordinated Entry System (CES), which includes operating the call center (available 365 days), holds legal clinics, facilitates and leads training sessions, leads on initiatives to end youth homelessness, and, most recently, leads the Pay for Success (PFS) Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Pilot Program.

For more information visit rihomeless.org | @rihomeless