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January 10, 2000

ALMOND SEEKS FUNDS FOR EMERGENCY HOMELESS SHELTER

Honors 1999 Housing Heroes




During a ceremony honoring the 1999 Partners-in-Housing Award recipients, Governor Lincoln Almond today announced that he would seek funds to provide temporary housing for the state's homeless.

"On this day when we honor our housing heroes, it is important that we make sure we are addressing the housing and shelter needs of all Rhode Islanders," said Almond. "That's why today I am announcing I will request $100,000 in supplemental budget funds to assist the homeless of our state."

The funding request, which will be included in the Supplemental Budget request Almond will be submitting tomorrow to the General Assembly for approval, would create a 30-bed temporary shelter at the Salvation Army on Broad Street in Providence with the Urban League of Rhode Island providing staffing. The shelter would operate through March. Currently, the Urban League operates three shelters in the state and services more than 50 percent of the homeless population in Providence.

The Governor's staff has met with members of the state's Housing Commission, shelter providers and representatives of the homeless to address the need for additional shelter space. The Administration has also worked with members of the General Assembly including Senate and House Finance chairmen, Senator J. Michael Lenihan and Representative Antonio Pires, to generate legislative support for this proposal.

Said Representative Pires, "We are pleased to support this emergency need and recommend support by the General Assembly. We will continue to work with the Governor's Office, the Housing Resources Commission and homeless advocates to help develop long-term solutions to the growing need for affordable housing."

Said Senator Lenihan, "It is important that we develop a viable and open working partnership among all parties so that we can create a more focused and effective means of tackling a major issue within our state."

"Housing is an issue that affects the whole state," said Almond. "Working together we can address the serious issues of homelessness and help provide a warm and safe place to sleep for those who would otherwise go without."

Individuals involved in this effort as well as other housing concerns were honored today at the State House by Almond and the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation. The annual Partners-in-Housing Awards honor municipalities, non-profits agencies, as well as public and private sector individuals.

Said Richard Godfrey, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, "These winners have been instrumental in building housing, creating housing-related programs or helping others solve housing problems. It is a remarkable group that has achieved remarkable results."

The winner's are:

Municipal Award New Shoreham was honored for its unprecedented financial support of the Pilot Hill Homeownership Project. The Town contributed $520,000 in grants and seed money toward creating four affordable homes for sale to moderate income buyers.

Non-Profit Award Barbara Krank of People's Redevelopment Corporation received this award for her able management of the Oxford Place and Oxford Gardens apartment complexes in Providence. The two developments provided 128 units of safe, affordable housing.

Public Sector Award Armeather Gibbs received this award in recognition of her unwavering support of affordable housing. Gibbs serves as Almond's director of community relations, and in that capacity has served as chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Private Sector Award Richard Kyte, a Woonsocket attorney, received this award for his many hours of pro bono legal work on behalf of the Federation of Rhode Island Mobile/Manufactured Home Owners. He helped engineer tenant purchases of mobile home parks in Burrillville, Pawtucket and Richmond.

This is the eleventh time the Partners-in-Housing Awards have been presented. Nominations were sought statewide. The work must have been performed in Rhode Island to benefit Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island Housing is a self-supporting corporation which receives no state tax dollars. As the state's principal housing agency, it has financed the purchase, construction or rehabilitation of 65,000 and apartments since 1973.


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