ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Community Calendar

Story and Craft
10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Charlestown

RI Blood Drive
4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Charlestown

Zumba Dance Fitness
5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Westerly

Spring Book Sale Preview Night
5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Westerly

Pilates and Strength
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Charlestown

Chess Club
6 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. Westerly

Yoga
8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Charlestown

... View all of today's events


Stay Connected


ADVERTISEMENT


Religious leaders urge action on poverty


PROVIDENCE — A coalition of religious leaders from several faiths marched to the Rhode Island Statehouse on Wednesday to urge state lawmakers to do more to fight poverty.

The group supports proposals to raise the minimum wage, boost spending on food pantries, affordable housing and homeless shelters, and do more to connect low-income residents with education, workforce training, childcare assistance and health care. Their rally at the Statehouse, coming on the second day of the legislative session, was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty speech.

“How can it be that 50 years later, here in Rhode Island, 13.7 percent of our residents — 19.5 percent of our children — and 9.2 percent of our seniors live in poverty?” said Maxine Richman, of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. “How can it be ... that the General Assembly’s community grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank has been reduced by half since 2008?”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and several lawmakers including House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed spoke at the event.

Paiva Weed, a Newport Democrat, said poverty is directly linked to the state’s weak economy. With a 9 percent jobless rate, Rhode Island is tied with Nevada for the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

“There’s a lot more to be done,” Paiva Weed said. “We can’t continue to leave individuals and families behind.”

Lawmakers are expected to consider several measures this year designed to help the state’s low-income residents. Homeless advocates are seeking nearly $3.5 million for rental vouchers. The Community Food Bank will ask lawmakers to reverse years of cuts that saw funding from the General Assembly drop from $384,000 in 2007 to just under $173,000 last year — even as the number of people relying on food pantries doubled.

Other proposals now being drafted would direct more money to workforce training and expand early childhood programs for poor children.



Back to State
Top Stories of the Week

SMOOTH UNDER PRESSURE …
WESTERLY — Cooper Ferreira didn’t think twice when he saw a customer choking at Amigos Taqueria Y Tequila last week. Ferreira immediately jumped into action … more ...

State is exercising air rights by eminent domain …
WESTERLY — The owners of 12 houses in proximity to Westerly State Airport will have their landscapes altered this summer, whether they like it or … more ...

Man charged with trespassing on Swift property …
WAKEFIELD — A Westerly man charged with trespassing on the Watch Hill property of Taylor Swift appeared Friday for his scheduled arraignment before Judge William … more ...

Comolli family sues Westerly over quarry assessment …
WESTERLY — The Comolli family is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary punitive damages from the town, in a recently filed lawsuit, claiming that the … more ...

More stores planned for Westerly plaza …
WESTERLY — The owners of the Westerly Crossing shopping center hope to expand the size of the retail complex by about 20 percent, adding three … more ...

Comments