RIPR News
9:22 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Newport tackles homelessness

Providence, RI – A new program is helping the city of Newport get a handle on its homelessness problem.

56-year-old Michael Monroe has lived on the streets for the better part of the last ten years - sleeping in friends' homes, railroad yards, even cemeteries. But now, thanks to a three-month old program called Housing First he shares a clean two bedroom apartment with a roommate.

"It's great. It's great to have a house to live in," he says. "I'm not out in the cold anymore. I don't think I could have made it another winter. This is the best thing that ever happened to me."

Housing First uses Rhode Island Housing dollars to pay for two thirds of a homeless person's rent. It also provides an array of mental health and substance abuse programs.

The cost per homeless person is about $20 thousand a year. That's $10 thousand less than the cost of housing a person in a homeless shelter and attending to all the problems that stem from the experience.

The goal of Housing First is to end chronic homelessness.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.