Some of city’s homeless haven’t showered since June 28

Some of city’s homeless haven’t showered since June 28

PAWTUCKET – Some of the city’s homeless residents haven’t taken a shower or changed their clothes since House of Hope’s ACCESS-RI program closed its facilities at 185 Dexter St. on June 28. That span includes one very warm entire month of July, says Adrienne Marchetti, director of the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen.

“On the really hot days it gets pretty ripe in here,” she said.

Everyone continues to talk about how important it is for local homeless residents to regain access to a basic amenity, says Marchetti, but it’s doing nothing to help the problem and it’s not acceptable.

Marchetti sent letters to public officials this week supporting Sen. Elizabeth Crowley’s July 24 letter asking for something to be done.

“It is with extreme distress and concern that I write to you today after reading The (Breeze’s) July 24 article regarding the lack of shower space for the homeless who, in the past, used the facility at 185 Dexter St. in Pawtucket,” wrote Crowley to mayors of Pawtucket and Central Falls. She said she was also forwarding the letter to Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to see about gaining a small grant to help get through the process of finding a facility where the homeless can shower.

She said she is asking Pawtucket and Central Falls legislators to support the effort of getting a grant and is asking any public facility that works with the homeless to help find a permanent location for homeless residents to bathe and to keep cool during the extreme heat of summer.

Shower programs in Providence are simply not an option for many of Pawtucket’s homeless, said Marchetti.

“Our folks have difficulty getting to Providence due to lack of money for the bus,” she said.

Bus tickets available for some ACCESS-RI programs are not included in the mobile Shower to Empower program, she said.

“In a country as great as the United States, it is unacceptable that folks are denied the dignity and privilege of taking a shower,” she wrote to officials. “I invite you to come to our dining room during a meal as the odor, at times, is overwhelming. Our guests should not have to walk around like this.”

Local officials have said they’re still working to help find a solution to the problem.

“The city, through our homeless liaison, continues working in collaboration with social service agencies with the hopes of finding a potential solution to showers for homeless individuals,” said Wil Arboleda, spokesman for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien in a statement. “While this is not a city function, we will continue supporting the groups who assist our homeless population.”

Crowley said on Tuesday that she has a meeting next week with homeless advocates, but has not yet heard back from any others she wrote to.

The Breeze previously reported that Pawtucket Central Falls Development was ending its relationship with House of Hope’s ACCESS-RI program to make way for new office space at 185 Dexter St. New temporary ACCESS-RI offices at 249 Roosevelt Ave. do not include showers for the homeless.

Comments

I asked this in another story but why can't Vets Park be an option for them to shower? They can come in before the pool opens or after it closes. It's not ideal by any means but it's 100% better than nothing, which they currently are getting.

Have the city open a fire hydrant at there location once in a while.