10:00 am Taking RIPTA #1 to the Convention Center I got off at Kennedy Plaza. I stopped at the bus depot to ask which buses go through the tunnel, since many people want to go to Brown, RISD or check out Benefit St. The clerk was very nice, here’s what she said–
#35 Pole M
#40 Pole M
#78 Pole M
#1 Pole K
#92 East Side Trolley
A man in line behind me heard me telling the clerk that the Unitarians are in town. He asked to speak with me. He told me that he had been homeless for over a year staying in Harrington Hall. He has housing now, but he wanted to say that the Unitarians were a help when he needed it. He said especially an advocate named Joyce. So, Joyce, if you read this you are appreciated.
I remember that the late Dave St.Germain organized a meal at Harrington Hall, and I often think of how difficult it must be to endure the crowding and the chaos. Our church, First Unitarian, is called to justice, and housing is one urgent need that First UU will be engaging in the coming years.
12:23 Youth are rappelling down the outside of the Convention Center. Myself, riding the escalator is as much heights as I can tolerate, but the kids are raising funds so, thanks, kids.
It’s busy at the info table where we are volunteering. As I have often asked myself when I come to the Convention Center, why is it like that? We are giving directions at high speed, explaining the difference between Exhibition Room D and Ballroom D. On the up side, everyone seems to be having a good time and the surroundings are beautiful.
12:50 I’m going to try to get away from the info table this evening to see Rev. Mary Margaret Earl speak on ‘Solving Chronic Homelessness’. Like that guy in Kennedy Plaza this morning. He’s got a place to live now, which has to ease such problems as getting mail, getting a job, staying healthy, avoiding crime. I say, ‘ease’ not solve, because all these problems are much worse when you have no address or bed you can call your own.
2:46 Finally got into the Exhibition Hall. Dangerous place–I came out with an armload of books.
6:00 Went to the panel discussion on homelessness. Prof. Eric Hirsh showed in real dollars how many fewer affordable apartments there are than in the 70’s. Things started to get worse in the Reagan years. He also showed in real dollars how much cheaper it is to house the homeless than to run shelters or leave people on the streets until they end up in the hospital.
7:30 After doing more of the info table– unable to answer questions about parking garage issues or motel problems, it’s time to take the bus home. I sat next to a woman who came to GA from Montana. I’m so impressed with the efforts people make to attend, and so happy it’s in Providence this year.