From increasing homelessness to congressional orientation, here’s the latest news from around the Ocean State.
Homelessness higher than last year
In light of concerns about increasing state-wide homelessness with the approach of winter, the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness hosted a presentation of its annual “State of Homelessness” report Nov. 14.
Each year, the coalition conducts a point-in-time count of how many people are experiencing homelessness on a single night in Rhode Island. According to a count from Jan. 26, 1,577 Rhode Islanders were unhoused.
Samantha Burnett, community programs engagement coordinator for the coalition, presented her personal experiences with homelessness and domestic abuse, as well as the importance of working to address homelessness in the state.
R.I. Secretary of Housing Josh Saal ’09 also spoke during the meeting. Homelessness is “a sign of our failure as a society to make the right interventions and help (people) out, our failure as neighbors, our failure as a community,” Saal said, according to UpriseRI.
Rhode Island trending down on many quality-of-life standards
The Rhode Island Life Index 2022, presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and the School of Public Health, was released Nov. 14, the Boston Globe reported.
“In 2022, perceptions trended down in several areas,” according to the report, which detailed whether Rhode Islanders felt their needs were being met. The report found that “access to affordable housing, childcare and activities for youth, quality education, affordable and nutritious food, good jobs, medical care, programs for seniors, transportation services, feeling safe at home and cost of living trended down for most Rhode Islanders.”
Scores in individual quality-of-life categories are calculated based on a survey distributed to Rhode Islanders.
Affordable housing notably scored low, earning 33 out of 100, while food security garnered a score of 80.
“By shining a light on gaps in basic needs through the R.I. Life Index, we can create a shared agenda with the community to address these gaps,” Martha Wofford, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island president and CEO, told the Boston Globe.
The state received an overall score of 59 from Ocean State residents.
Magaziner travels to Washington, D.C., for congressional orientation
Seth Magaziner ’06, Democratic state treasurer, clinched Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives last week, defeating Republican Allan Fung Nov. 8, The Herald previously reported.
Magaziner has already visited the U.S. Capitol to begin congressional orientation.
“Just finishing up our first day of orientation,” Magaziner said in a video posted to his Twitter. “A big thank you once again to the people of Rhode Island for putting your trust in me and to all of our staff and volunteers who got us here.”
He added that he had spoken to several representatives who cited the Jan. 6 insurrection as their motivation for running and emphasized the need to respect the results of elections.
“I hope that as the last few races are being called and the results are being counted that everyone honors the results — win or lose — and that our democracy continues to endure and thrive going forward,” Magaziner said in the video.
Katy Pickens is the managing editor of newsroom and vice president of The Brown Daily Herald's 133rd Editorial Board. She previously served as a Metro section editor covering College Hill, Fox Point and the Jewelry District, housing & campus footprint and activism, all while maintaining a passion for knitting tiny hats.