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Our World 2022: Stepping Forward: A Home for All

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"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned"

          -    Maya Angelou


Each of these people have been homeless at some point in their lives. 


The Faces of Homelessness, National Coalition on Housing + Homelessness


Common Issues People Experiencing Homelessness can Face:

  • Limited access to health care
  • Problems getting enough food
  • Trouble staying safe
  • Violence
  • Stress
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Exposure to severe weather

Homeless Health Concern, Medline Plus


PHOTO: "RI Homelessness Activists Increase Pressure by Sleeping at State House", The Providence Journal



Definition of Chronic Homelessness

A ‘‘chronically homeless’’ individual is defined to mean a homeless individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter or in an institutional care facility if the individual has been living in the facility for fewer than ninety (90) days and had been living in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven or in an emergency shelter immediately before entering the institutional care facility. In order to meet the ‘‘chronically homeless’’ definition, the individual also must have been living as described above continuously for at least twelve (12) months or on at least four (4) separate occasions in the last three (3) years, where the combined occasions total a length of time of at least twelve (12) months. Each period separating the occasions must include at least seven (7) nights of living in a situation other than a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter or in a safe haven.


Definition of Chronic Homelessness, U.S. Department of Homelessness and Urban Development


Evicted by Matthew Desmond

ISBN: 9780553447453

Publication Date: 2016-03-1

In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. 

No House to Call My Home by Ryan Berg

ISBN: 9781568585680

Publishing Date: 2015-08-25

In this lyrical debut, Ryan Berg immerses readers in the gritty, dangerous, and shockingly underreported world of homeless LGBTQ teens in New York. As a caseworker in a group home for disowned LGBTQ teenagers, Berg witnessed the struggles, fears, and ambitions of these disconnected youth as they resisted the pull of the street, tottering between destruction and survival.



Credit: The Providence Journal

Rhode Island


Reported from data collected in the past two years, Rhode Island had an estimated 1,104 people experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)


Of the 1,104 people experiencing homelessness, 
121 were family households
92 were Veterans
23 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24)
226 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.


Rhode Island Homelessness Statistics, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness



VIDEO: HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge Address on Estimates of Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 


PHOTO: "Time to End Homelessness in Providence", GoLocalProv

Common Causes of Homelessness:


Homelessness in America: Overview of Data and Causes, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty


Homeless Shelters in Rhode Island:

  • Crossroads Rhode Island
    • Address: 160 Broad St., Providence, RI
    • Mission statement: We believe everyone needs a place to call home. That's why we offer the essential programs they need to get there: housing, emergency shelter, education & employment and more.
  • Lucy's Hearth
    • Address: 19 Valley Road, Middletown, RI
    • Mission statement: At Lucy’s Hearth, our team is passionate about helping children and their families who are experiencing homelessness due to economic hardship, family crisis, divorce, eviction, and severe shortage of safe, affordable housing. Our primary goal is to foster independence and help the residents gain the life skills necessary to find stable housing and prevent future homelessness.
  • McAuley House
    • Address: 622 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI
    • Mission statement: Our ministries provide the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, health services, emotional support, guidance, and respect for the most vulnerable in our community through our core values of Hospitality, Compassion, and Dignity.


PHOTO: "Shelter Design Can Help People Recover from Homelessness", Engineering for Change


PHOTO: "Advocates Seek Long-Term Solutions for Homelessness", The Providence Journal

Proven Solutions

  • Housing-based solutions 
    • Since modern homelessness began more than thirty years ago, research and experience have overwhelmingly shown that investments in permanent housing are extraordinarily effective in reducing homelessness, as well as being cost-effective.
  • Prevention and stability
    • One essential approach to reducing homelessness is to prevent it. Another is to ensure that formerly homeless families and individuals can maintain housing stability.
  • Right to shelter
    • For homeless people, shelter from the elements can be a matter of life and death. The right to shelter is a vital legal protection for homeless individuals, families and children. Without this crucial safeguard, vulnerable homeless people would be at severe risk of death or injury on the streets and in other public spaces.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Proven Solutions - Coalition For the Homeless


Do you know someone that is homeless?
Yes: 19 votes (51.35%)
No: 18 votes (48.65%)
Total Votes: 37


Credit: YES Shelter for Youth and Families

Youth Homelessness Mental Health Statistics

  • Students reported significantly higher rates of depression than housed students (45% vs. 27%).
  • More than half of the homeless students who attempted suicide reported that they required medical attention afterward, compared to 37% of housed students.
  • Homeless students who were the victims of bullying were much more likely to report depression (63%) than those who were not bullying victims (34%).
  • Depression can lead to harmful behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse...homeless students reporting depression were more than twice as likely to binge drink as housed students reporting depression (41% vs. 19%).

The common issues with youth experiencing homelessness make them less likely to stay engaged with school, find jobs, get access to rental housing and maintain friendships. Transitioning into adulthood can be hard for these individuals and it can be even harder for them to find a stable home.


"Mental Health and Youth Homelessness: Understanding the Overlaps", National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families


Women comprise around 40% of the homeless population.

Issues Common with Women Experiencing Homelessness

1. Prostitution

Women face sexual assault, physical and domestic violence as homeless. They are often forced to take up prostitution or they end up trading themselves. For instance, women have reported sexual assault in showers and public restrooms. 

2. Deteriorating health during reproductive years and Menopause

Homeless women lack preventive care such as prenatal, mammograms and other tests. The rate of unintended pregnancies is higher in homeless women who have no access to contraceptives.As a result, there is a much higher rate of abortions, abnormalities and adverse birth outcomes.

3. Access to menstrual products is limited

For homeless women, menstrual cycles are a monthly challenge to survival.  Most of the shelters do not provide menstrual products such as pads or tampons A box of pads can cost anywhere around $5 to $10 plus taxes.

4. Lack of Maternal health care plans 

Most of the unintended pregnancies happen inside homeless shelters where a lot of women are forced to have sexual intercourse.

5. Lack of Safety and Security

Women and children fleeing domestic violence from an abusive partner often face disappointment as homeless. The streets make women even more vulnerable for abuse and violence from strangers.

6. Gender inequality in jobs

The gender disparity and sexism existing throughout the world disproportionately affects homeless women. Additionally, more than half of the homeless women do not have a high school degree which makes them less likely to attain a stable source of income.

7. Extreme Depression

About 1 in 4 homeless people face extreme mental issues which goes untreated. In other words, 47% of homeless women meet the criteria for a major depressive disorder alone, which is twice the rate of women in the general population. 

8. Victimization

Homeless women are particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of victimization. Subsequently, the shelters for women are unsafe and they have reported extreme physical and mental violence inside the safe homes. 


Demographic Data Project: Gender and Individual Homelessness, National Alliance to End Homelessness



The Pursuit of Happyness (2007)

Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner. Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position doesn’t pay. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

Time Out of Mind (2014)

George seeks refuge at Bellevue Hospital, a Manhattan intake center for homeless men, where his friendship with a fellow client helps him try to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter.