Mayor Jorge Elorza joined elected officials and a vast coalition of community members, business owners, social service providers and interfaith community representatives to announce increased investment and support for citywide health and safety.
“The issues we are addressing today are not unique to Providence. They are complex and multifaceted, but by coming together as community, we have the opportunity to make lasting change,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “By addressing this issue creatively, collaboratively and compassionately while incorporating best practices from throughout the country, Providence can become a model for the entire nation.”
In addition to committing to the ongoing support for increased police presence in the Downtown neighborhood, the Mayor announced a partnership with the City Council to allocate resources to launch a day center. The center will be a service rich environment that connects individuals to community resources. This space will provide for a dependable and safe alternative, especially necessary in times of inclement weather and often in dire need. In the coming months, the request for proposals (RFP) process will be announced and will ask service providers to provide potential locations and innovative service models.
“I’m excited to work with Mayor Elorza to address these sensitive challenges with compassion and collaboration. Poverty is a problem that extends far beyond Kennedy Plaza,” said Council President Aponte. “Poverty is bigger than Providence, and we need all hands on deck to make meaningful change.”
“Simply put, people need a place to go. I’d like to thank Mayor Elorza and my City Council colleagues–especially Council President Aponte and Finance Chairman Igliozzi– for listening to the needs of the Eleventh Ward, and for working with me to bring a day center and services to the people of Providence in greatest need,” added Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris.
The City of Providence is going to provide support directly to Amos House, a local organization that aims to address issues of hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Amos House’s pilot of an innovative model, “A Hand Up”, will provide work opportunities for people who are underemployed or unemployed and look to panhandling as a main source of income. In addition to ‘A Hand Up’, the City will work to support the efforts by The Providence Center and collaborative work already being done to launch the “Emmanuel House”, a diversion center that will provide critical assistance to people who are struggling with substance abuse.
“Keeping the public safe is our first and foremost duty and it’s important that we are able to do that with compassion,” added Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré. “Additionally, increased resources towards substance abuse and mental health treatment will supplement the work our officers do every day and increase their capacity to protect our city.”
As part of a community engagement campaign, Mayor Elorza announced PVD GIVES. This program will combine an interactive website with “giving meters” placed throughout the city to encourage those who want to donate to give to the meters instead of individuals directly. Funding from meters is to be allocated to proven successful social supports. Supplemented by a public education campaign, PVD GIVES will allow targeted outreach to connect residents in need with easy to access, much needed services.
Going forward, Mayor Elorza will continue to engage the broad coalition brought together today and work collaboratively to advocate for the critical resources that are needed to provide mental health, substance abuse and housing supports to people in need. Advocating for the adequate state and federal funding for these services will be central to the Mayor’s legislative advocacy agenda.
Individuals looking to be connected to financial, domestic, health or disaster-related resources can call the United Way at 2-1-1. To get connected to city services, residents can call PVD311 (3-1-1). To get involved with PVD GIVES, email .