A Hand Up
Amos House found itself at the center of a public conversation about the best way to tide the growing number of panhandlers in Providence; their solution — A Hand Up.
Instead of standing at red lights holding cardboard signs and empty coffee cans, panhandlers earn $50 a day cleaning sections of the Capital City. Though some have criticized the proposal, it received an enthusiastic response from the panhandling community; some of whom helped remove 100 bags of garbage and 103 hypodermic needles during the program’s Huntington Avenue cleanup.
The public face of the initiative is beautifying Providence and reducing people’s reliance on panhandling for income, but to an agency that provides social services to over 15,000 people a year — it’s an opportunity to make an even bigger impact. Amos House uses it to help Rhode Island’s chronically homeless and let them know about their 90 Day Transitional Program, funded in part by a grant from United Way of Rhode Island.
90 Day Transitional Program
In many cases, a person’s ability to stay off the street is hindered by the cycle of addiction. Surprisingly, in a state where 1,180 residents are chronically homeless, and another 20,000 struggle with opioid addiction, “[Amos House] is the only recovery based treatment program for homeless people in the entire state,” explains Eileen Hayes, president, and CEO of Amos House. “People come to us desperate for sober housing because they can’t survive without a structured and supportive environment,” she continues.
The program combines structure, support, and sober living to help people break that cycle and begin the process of mending their lives. Each year, 200 people enter the program, of those, 85% graduate and are invited to move into Phase Two housing. While the support and structure remain in place, the graduates are offered new opportunities to grow, including career training in culinary arts and carpentry.
“Over half of our staff consists of former residents,” explains Hayes. This is because Amos House often hires graduates from their culinary arts program to work in the soup kitchen or for their full-service catering company, More Than a Meal Catering. With 100% of the profits going back into the program, the employees work hard so others get the chance they themselves had.
Since their founding in 1976 Amos House has impacted many lives. The people they help are often at their lowest point; most having nowhere else to turn. Eileen Hayes describes what her organization does, “We help people with recovery, training, housing, and a job.”
She humbly omits the most important way Amos House helps people: by saving their lives.
Learn more about how Amos House is changing lives and how you can get involved. Also, if you need assistance finding resources, please contact United Way’s 2-1-1 in Rhode Island. Just dial 2-1-1 from any phone — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.