Cranston Residents Want To Kick People Out Of Homeless Shelter

Residents of Cranston–my hometown, woot!–are upset because sex offenders are living in a local homeless shelter located about a half mile away from a school.  To give you an idea of what that means, Cranston is approximately 28 square miles.  And there are 24 public schools in the city, plus a bunch of private ones (like St Mary’s, woot!).  The only way to possibly have a shelter that wasn’t within half a mile of a school would be to have it in the middle of one of those shi-shi luxury community developments near the Scituate border. (Cranston, for those of you who don’t travel south very often, has a population of about 80,000, most of which is settled in the eastern two-thirds of the city.  The west, which used to be farmland, is where all the fancy exurby houses got built in the last twenty years or so.  So it’s not like anybody’s going to put a homeless shelter there because, you know, that might kill the property values or whatever.)

According to the shelter, former sex offenders have been housed there for years, but only recently did the cops start notifying neighbors about it.  That’s because a new law makes it a felony for a sex offender to live within 300 feet of a school, according to Robin Muksian-Schutt, Mayor Fung’s director of adminstration.  (I’m not quite sure how that’s relevant, though, since the shelter is about six times that distance away from any schools.)  Another recent development, according to Muksian-Schutt, is that offenders–who have to list their residence with the state Department of Corrections–are now listing the shelter as their home.  (Again, I’m not sure how that’s a new development, since the shelter director says convicted offenders have been living there for years.)

This all came out in Randal Edgar’s article in the Journal today.  Thankfully he didn’t get all Scarlet Letter-ish about it the way that some Journal writers might have, though he did neglect a few key details. (And I’m pretty sure he got the name of the street wrong.*  Not to mention that whoever wrote the headline is breaking the rules about subject-verb agreement.)

City councilwoman Michelle Bergin-Andrews says that the location of the shelter is a terrible one.  (Presumably she would prefer that it were in someone else’s district.)  She cites a nearby park as the reason why. “It’s like a kid in a candy store where they’re located. Take your pick, you have unsuspecting females walking around.”  What she doesn’t seem to realize–and what the article doesn’t mention, for some reason–is that the shelter is in the same complex as the state prison.

When I went to elementary school in that part of town–Glen Hills, holla–we sometimes had to miss recess because of prison breaks.  So it’s not as if the shelter is in a particularly great neighborhood.  Actually, it’s not in a neighborhood at all, it’s in a complex of state-owned buildings.

The Urban League, which runs the shelter, points out that the offenders should be safe because they are monitored by the state.  Also, he notes that as a state-funded organization they are obligated to take the offenders in.  And, I think it’s worth noting, they have nowhere else to go because they are homeless.  And it’s not like jobs are easy to find for anyone, never mind convicted felons.

(*Howard Avenue is where the Howard Complex is, with the prison and all the state offices, near Mulligan’s Island; Howard Street is where Basil’s Pizza is, off Cranston Street and pretty nearby to Stadium School (wazzup!)  Basil’s, by the way, is delicious if you’re ever in the mood for extra-greasy pizza made by proud Macedonians.  Though it’s kind of a hang-out for middle school kids–Hugh B Bain, represent!–so you might want to get it as takeout.)

8 thoughts on “Cranston Residents Want To Kick People Out Of Homeless Shelter”

  1. Annie Messier

    (Joe Bernstein! Nice to see you on the Dose again!)
    It’s worth noting that the Cranston Police Department is has been totally awesome about leaving voice mails (sometimes multiple messages–better safe than sorry) for all nearby residents and businesses about each sex offender. We learn the offenders’ names, physical descriptions, dates of birth, crimes, etc., and it’s nice to be informed. A friend down South recently found out a sex offender had been living directly across the street and may have been ogling her adorable child for years–not a warning from anyone! That’s WAY worse than knowing someone crashes at a shelter that’s not even remotely in view of a child or a school.

  2. joe bernstein

    The issue is with the sexual predators-CONVICTED,not merely accused,who are appealing their classification as opposed to their guilt.
    I don’t think the regular homeless,whether mentally ill,addicted,or just down on their luck are the issue.
    How about some sexual predators being housed in Barrington where Steve Brown lives,or maybe near Jack McConnell,wherever he resides?
    People have a right to be concerned about dangerous individuals,who,thanks to a loophole in the law, are not monitored electronically.
    The ACLU(big surprise here) is fighting an attempt to close the loophole.
    Do these phony do-gooders ever really think about the consequences of some of the shit they get involved in?

  3. They have nowhere to go… Is that because their own families and friends don’t want sex offenders living near or with their own children??

  4. PS. Important, new information not available elsewhere is available on TBB. Why the pixels aren’t even dry yet.

  5. Thanks, Marc. Any strong, engaged community can kick the hind quarters of pretty much any MSM outlet. Check out the Sacramento Press, which is a community blog that’s just getting going. Already they have a lot of content and even running journalism classes for contributors.

    And, to prove that I’ve got absolutely no class at all, I’m going to pimp my own work on this Pawtucket River Bridge situation. According to the P-Times and the newspaper, this story started in November 2007 when RIDOT issued the first weight limit. But my readers know the story started in May 2007 when I documented chunks of concrete falling on the sidewalk.

  6. I agree with Frymaster… The Daily Dose has potential to become a major force in local politics if the Journal flops.

    Any chance of tying-in with any of the printed-media outlets? It would be cool if the Phoenix would poach an editorial from here every so-often.

  7. That is SWEET! Similar to Pawtucket, Cranston’s ruling class far prefer their current way of seeing the world to anything resembling reality.

    On a separate note, big ups to you, adding valuable info and insight on MSM stories that don’t quite get all the way there. These days, newspapers are pretty high and mighty about their essential role in a democracy. But that doesn’t prove out with stories like this where basic facts go unexposed.

  8. Annie Messier

    I work in the Howard Complex, nestled between the homeless shelter and two prisons. The complex is so tucked away from the general public, it’s like a different world. I interact with the shelter residents often, as they always want to say hello or ask what time it is. I don’t feel unsafe walking among them on the grounds (alone, and a very unintimidating-looking gal), and I’m not sure that people a whole half-mile away need to worry about them, either.

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