John Joyce and other organizers from the original Tent City staged a protest in downtown Providence yesterday setting up their “NOP Tent”. When Joyce first gathered homeless individuals for the first tent city in 2009 it was because he believed there was safety in numbers. He believed that if people were going to have to be outside in the bitter cold they would fare better by banding together. Yesterday he set up his tent again, this time to protest the recent actions of the Governor eliminating the homeless prevention program, NOP (Neighborhood Opportunities Program), from the budget.
“I said in January of 2009, when we put the first tents up, that there was a solution to the Tent Cities and the state’s homeless problem, and that the solution was affordable housing,” exclaimed Joyce. “That is still true today, which makes the decision by the Governor to eliminate this critical program, which is a route out of homelessness for hundreds of people, even more infuriating.”
In light of the Governor’s actions, homeless prevention and affordable housing advocates (including the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless) now look to the legislature to restore funding to NOP. We have embarked on an aggressive grassroots campaign to show the legislators the widespread support for NOP.
The NOP Tent Tour is the brainchild of Joyce, founder and co-director of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project (RIHAP) and Megan Smith, co-director of RIHAP and one of the organizers of the original Tent City.
Joyce is planning to tour the tent to the other 28 cities and towns that have benefited from NOP funding.
“I want to give Rhode Islanders a good visual of what our choices are,” Joyce said. “Would you rather have tents in your community or safe, affordable housing? The choice is ours, but if we chose the better solution of affordable homes we have to let our legislators know that is what we want!”
Those who want learn more or take action, go here.