In this video, you'll hear the claim that "the system that's in place works." But I absolutely believe that the system in place does NOT work. By "the system" I mean the current shelter system, the government's limited involvement in subsidized housing, and the ubiquity of services that patronize rather than treat homeless individuals like human beings.
The problem of homelessness is not that people aren't willing to take part in a successful system. This explanation conveniently blames the 6,500+ homeless individuals in Rhode Island, as if this population's suffering is their own fault and they're merely failing to take advantage of the plentiful resources available to them. This explanation gives government officials the sense that they've 'done all that they can.'
This explanation avoids any discussion of the lack of affordable housing in Rhode Island. ...as if homelessness and the absence of housing aren't connected!
What if we stopped accepting the claim that "the system in place works"?
- Projo's article "Homes out of reach in 30 communitites, new study says" (6/18/09).
- Street Sights' article "Homelessness is a solvable problem" (June 2009, issue #23, page 10). (direct link to the pdf)
- "RI losing the war on Homelessness," (3/30/09), from the Projo.
- "Affordable housing out of reach," Channel 10 Report (4/14/09).
More media on tent city's relocation:
- Article from The Day, in CT (8/8/09).
- Channel 6.
- And more examples of the rush to help move people, when the cameras are on (Boston.com)