When you are homeless, all you own is in your backpack. That’s the way it is. Roth has been homeless for almost three years. He says, “When a person gets homeless I don’t care how much valuables they have, they are all going to disappear. You’re going to lose it in your storage, because you can’t pay the storage. You’re going to lose your car because the cops are going to confiscate it because your driving with out a tax and registration.”
Danielle isn't homeless now but she was for 6 years, from when she was 20 till just recently. She describes the way it was at the Providence Rescue Mission on Cranston Street. "You go in at 4 PM and the men and the women are separated. At 5 PM there is a church service together. At 5:30 the meal is served. After dinner, we are separated again. The women sleep on mats on the floor in a big huge room. The first 40 men get bunk beds, left overs get mats on the floor too."
Danielle says, "That is half fair, but not half fair. But it is safe, and warm, and the food’s good.” She continues, “You can only leave one bag there, in a closet, only about size of a back pack. If you get caught with more you get thrown out for 30 days or more."
"This wouldn’t be a problem if there was another shelter for women in the area but there isn’t. So the women are stuck now, outside. I don’t know what they can do but I don’t think that’s very fair. I was thinking there should be more shelters for women. They can go to Crossroads but Crossroads sends them to wherever, I think they call it “overflow” downstairs in their community room, only if it is an emergency and you have no other place to go."
"You must leave (the Rescue Mission) at 7 AM and can’t go back until 4 PM. Must people just hang around because that is what they are used to doing. We don’t really have guidance out here. They tell you what to do but they don’t direct you and help you to do it. So people kinda they get careless, don’t really want to do anything. It all catches up on you. We go to the library but I don’t really like the library. We go to soup kitchens. We used to go to a church in Bristol, it was a day shelter. You could spend all day there, until 2 o’clock.They have lunch, they have bingo sometimes, couple other things. We’ll go walk around the mall. If we have money we’ll go out, see a movie or something, but that’s very rare. (laugh)"
Roth explains, "It all happens within a really small time frame. By the time you realize you are homeless you are totally lost and depressed. You don’t know what to do. You don’t even know if there is a homeless shelter around because you have never been homeless before. Whereas these other people who have an addiction, they don’t mind being homeless. they don’t mind living in this situation where money doesn’t last."