Grebien decries stealth relocation of homeless

Grebien decries stealth relocation of homeless

PAWTUCKET – The revelation of a secretive effort by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to export that city’s homeless residents to communities such as Pawtucket was met with strong condemnation from a trio of local mayors last week.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, in a statement submitted jointly with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, is calling the program irresponsible for its lack of communication with recipient cities, which leads to the homeless residents having no support system in their new locations.

Grebien and the other mayors are warning of the consequences of further moves through New York’s Special One-Time Assistance Program, saying they have no indication that it’s been ended following a New York Post story on its specifics.

“Based on the information in the New York Post’s article, this is an outrageous example of bad public policy,” they said. “Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket are financially distressed communities working with limited resources to improve our residents’ quality of life. It is deeply concerning that the city of New York is relocating members of their community to ours and many others without informing us. To send these families to other cities and towns with no communication or support structure is irresponsible.”

According to the report out of New York, that city has been exporting homeless individuals and families all over the country, sending with them a year’s worth of rent.

According to The Post, New York has sent 5,074 homeless families, or 12,482 people total, to 373 cities and towns in 32 states and Puerto Rico, doing so without informing the receiving communities.

The local mayors said they will continue to do everything they can to help their residents, especially those experiencing homelessness, despite having limited resources.

According to the report, three families were sent to Providence, and one each to Pawtucket, Woonsocket and North Kingstown.

“This irresponsible approach is taking away the resources that we as individual communities and the state of Rhode Island have,” said the three mayors. “We echo many of the sentiments of the mayors of other communities. While it is unclear how many families have been relocated to Rhode Island, we must sit with state leaders and the Department of Human Services in order to ensure that the Special One-Time Assistance Program does not negatively impact our communities moving forward.”

If that doesn’t happen, this will come as a cost to the state as a whole, and not just these municipalities, they said.

“While it appears relocations have occurred in Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket at this point, there is no indication that New York’s Special One-Time Assistance Program will stop in our cities or will refrain from moving families experiencing homelessness from New York City to other cities in Rhode Island,” said the mayors.