Surrounded by a coalition of community members, social service providers, business owners and interfaith leaders, Mayor Jorge Elorza announced his commitment to addressing complex, multifaceted issues related to poverty such as homelessness and panhandling at a press conference this morning.
After asking the crowd to consider what kind of community Providence wants to be, he described his goals of investing in affordable housing, creating workforce opportunities, and addressing racial injustice. Rather than moving problems from one street to another, the mayor promised to look for lasting solutions by addressing issues “compassionately, creatively, and collaboratively.” Stating that “we are stronger when we work together,” he agreed to take on challenges with partners at the state level, social service agencies, interfaith community, corporations, and others. He acknowledged that these issues are not unique to Providence, and he will incorporate best practices from around the country.
Public safety is an important component, and in recent weeks, the mayor has committed support for an increased police presence downtown. He has also advocated for critical wraparound services for mental health, substance abuse, legal issues, and housing. Additional plans include:
- Allocating resources to a day center, in partnership with the City Council.
- Supporting Amos House’s A Hand Up program to provide jobs for people who are unemployed.
- Supporting The Providence Center’s plans to launch the Emmanuel House diversion center for people who are struggling with substance abuse.
- Launching the PVD GIVES community engagement program, combining an interactive website with giving meters that will direct funds to social service programs.
Read more about the press conference and the mayor’s plans here.