Veterans’ group Operation Stand-Down is leaving the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. The move follows a disagreement over homeless veterans.
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless is taking part in a national effort to combat homelessness known as Zero:2016. Through that effort the organization has housed more than 160 veterans this year. This week the group said it was on track to end chronic homelessness among veterans in Rhode Island.
Erick Wallin is the executive director of the non-profit Operation Stand Down Rhode Island. He says that could send a false message that the issue is resolved, which could be dangerous for veterans who still experience homelessness.
"As a result of that the pressure is taken off both elected officials and government officials to devote necessary resources to the problem," said Wallin.
The term chronic homeless refers to a person who’s been homeless for at least 12 months, or has experienced homelessness at least four times in three years. Wallin said that definition is too narrow.
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless has acknowledged that no entity can stamp out homelessness completely. Officials with the coalition said they believe that highlighting the accomplishments of the Zero:2016 campaign will draw more attention and resources to the issue of homelessness in the state.
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