News & Event
Posted:Mar 6, 2018 at 2:31 PM
Updated:Mar 6, 2018 at 2:31 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Caitlin Frumerie, a resident of Providence’s West Side, has been hired as the new executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the board of directors announced Tuesday.
“The Coalition is grateful for the tireless work of its staff, the board, interim director Bert Cooper, and the search committee for their efforts in the selection and interview process,” board president Steven M. Miller said in an announcement. “With her extensive background working on homeless programs and dedication to the dream that no man, woman, or child should find themselves living on the street or in a shelter, we think Caitlin will be a strong advocate and systems change agent for the issue of homelessness in Rhode Island.”
Frumerie, who is originally from Arizona, “most recently worked as a technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homeless programs division under the Cloudburst Group,” according to Miller.
She previously held positions as the community development director for the City of Providence and homeless shelter program manager for the State of Rhode Island. She has two bachelor degrees from Roger Williams University and a masters in social work from Boston University. Frumerie is also a licensed clinician “and can be found working the occasional night and weekend shift as a social worker in one of our local hospital emergency rooms,” he added.
Courtesy of Providence Journal
Providence, RI; On Monday, October 1, 2018 the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless hosts their 30th Anniversary Awards Breakfast. The breakfast is being held at the Crowne Plaza, in Warwick, RI from 8:30 – 11:00am. Recognizing the Coalition’s 30 years of working to ameliorate homelessness in Rhode Island the theme of this years’ Awards Program is “Together We Can Change the World.”
The Coalition is thrilled to welcome keynote speaker Jeff Olivet. Jeff has worked in homelessness, behavioral, and public health for more than two decades. As a teacher, writer, and policy leader, he shapes new directions for organizations across the United States. He has worked as a street outreach worker, case manager, coalition builder, activist, and trainer, as well as an inspirational writer and speaker. From 2010 to 2018, he was CEO of the Boston-based Center for Social Innovation, a dynamic social policy company. Jeff is Principal Investigator on multiple research studies funded by National Institutes of Health, and he conceived of and leads the SPARC Initiative (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities), a multi-city effort to address racial inequity in homelessness. His blogs and his Changing the Conversation podcast are followed widely, providing thought leadership for the field. Jeff divides his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.
As part of the Coalition’s 30th anniversary celebration they will be honoring a number of organizers, educators and community leaders recognizing their work, dedication and commitment to helping end homelessness in Rhode Island. More information about the award winners will be released soon.
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless is organized to promote and preserve the dignity and quality of life for men, women, and children by pursuing comprehensive and cooperative solutions to the problems of housing and homelessness. They accomplish this through advocacy, education, collaboration, technical assistance, and selected direct services to homeless individuals and families.
The Coalition envisions a State of Rhode Island that refuses to let any man, woman, or child be homeless. For more information about the Coalition follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rihomeless
Courtesy of Providence American
Homelessness in Rhode Island is on the rise. The state saw a 1.7 percent increase in homelessness this year according to a new report by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Statewide, 1,180 people experienced homelessness on a single day earlier this year. Nearly 400 were children in homeless families; almost 100 were veterans. Of even greater concern, Rhode Island’s chronically homeless population nearly doubled, increasing from 136 to 240.
After years of successfully reducing homelessness, Rhode Island’s homeless numbers are heading in the wrong direction. The solution to ending homelessness is actually pretty simple. Our “Housing First” model effectively gets people off the streets, out of shelter — and into permanent, affordable housing with the support services necessary to help them remain housed. Unfortunately, Rhode Island simply does not have enough housing that is affordable and meets people's needs.
Fortunately, social service agencies like Crossroads Rhode Island step in to bridge the gap. But hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding cuts, including the loss of Housing Stabilization dollars through Medicaid, Road Home and the Neighborhood Opportunities Program, are significantly reducing the amount of aid available for 2018 and beyond.
It’s the chronically homeless, the state’s most vulnerable population, who are likely to pay the price. Many of these individuals struggle with physical and mental illness, hunger and poverty — fighting every day just to survive. Without adequate funding for housing and support programs, they will end up back on the street, sleeping in doorways, camping under highway overpasses or staying in shelters.
Recently, 283 people slept in a Crossroads shelter, including 53 children in 27 families. Others sought refuge at different shelters — or bundled up in outdoor places where no one should have to spend a cold, winter night.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but helping those people find permanent housing solutions will ultimately cost taxpayers far less than keeping them in shelters. Research shows that the chronically homeless are much higher users of Medicaid, police, fire and rescue and other services.
A 2013 study of 67 chronically homeless Rhode Island Medicaid users revealed charges of $59,651 per person, more than double Medicaid charges for the average housed, disabled adult. In fact, over the course of 26 months, those 67 individuals cost the state $9.3 million in Medicaid costs alone.
Over the last three years, Crossroads helped more than 3,000 people move into permanent housing—and stay there. Several had been living in shelters for 10 years or more. Ten years. Let that sink in. Imagine how much it cost taxpayers to shelter those individuals for more than a decade, never mind what it would be like to live in a homeless shelter for that long.
The bottom line is that programs like “Housing First” save more taxpayer dollars than reducing funding. Working together, we can reduce the number of men, women and children experiencing homelessness, help save taxpayer dollars and find every Rhode Islander a safe place to call home this holiday season.
— Karen Santilli is president and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island.
Published/Posted By: The Providence American
Posted: March 19, 2018
The Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless is thrilled to announce its selection of Caitlin Frumerie to serve as the agency's new Executive Director! To help introduce you to our new director, we are going to be hosting a Meet and Greet event on Wednesday March 28th 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Dorrance (located 60 Dorrance St, Providence, RI). There is no cost to attend but there will be a cash bar and appetizers. Please register online by clicking here, if you'd like to attend. We are also excited to announce that our annual luncheon, normally held in March, will be moved to early fall! More information will be forthcoming, so stay tuned!
The Coalition is grateful for the tireless work of its staff, the board, interim director Bert Cooper, and the search committee for their efforts in the selection and interview process. With her extensive background working on homeless programs and dedication to the dream that no man, woman, or child should find themselves living on the street or in a shelter, we think Caitlin will be a strong advocate and systems change agent for the issue of homelessness in Rhode Island!
Although Caitlin was raised in rural Arizona, she calls Rhode Island her true home and her favorite place on earth! She's lived here over thirteen years and currently resides in the West Side of Providence. Ms. Frumerie has a wealth of experience in the homeless services industry and most recently worked as a Technical Assistance provider for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's homeless programs division under the Cloudburst Group. While there she focused on helping communities with finding effective and efficient ways to reduce and end homelessness, in addition to providing subject matter expertise on the Continuum of Care, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and Emergency Solutions Grant programs.
Prior to her work for HUD, she held positions as the Community Development Director for the City of Providence and homeless shelter program manager for the State of Rhode Island. She has two bachelor degrees from Roger
Williams University and a masters in Social Work from Boston University. Ms. Frumerie is also a licensed clinician and can be found working the occasional night and weekend shift as a social worker in one of our local hospital
Caitlin started her position with the Coalition in late January and has already hit the ground running! She looks forward to working with you all and support the most important work of ENDING HOMELESSNESS in Rhode Island!
In closing, the Coalition's Board of Directors is also deeply thankful for the dedication of our staff and the all our partners who have stepped up to help RICH over the last year. We are forever indebted to the staff, volunteers, and partners who carry out our work day to day, including but not limited to our members, Donna "Dee Dee" Williams, Tory Kern, Bob Maurice, Don Larsen, Mike Scarlatti, Eric Hirsch, Karen Flora, Michelle Duso, Kristen Morales, Barbara Freitas, and many more!
Steven M. Miller, Esq.
President, Board of Directors
PS: You can reach Caitlin at Caitlin@rihomeless.org if you have questions about the Coalition or the event!!
Courtesy of The Providence American
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH) is a statewide organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Rhode Island. Formed in 1988, RICH’s mission is to seek comprehensive and cooperative solutions to homelessness in Rhode Island. This is accomplished through data collection and analysis, advocacy, training and education, collaboration, technical assistance, constituent services, and strategic communications. RICH works to build the public and political will to support the right for safe, affordable housing for every Rhode Islander. The organization works to ensure and support local, state and federal commitments to establish a continuum of affordable housing and homeless prevention programs. This work involves maintaining a broad base of key stakeholders to support and advocate for the organization’s vision, including homeless people, service providers, politicians, affordable housing allies, advocates, public and philanthropic funders, businesses, city and state officials, developers, faith communities and concerned citizens.
As the lead agency responsible for Rhode Island’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), RICH is in the unique position to use data and information to catalyze and inform change within the homelessness services system. RICH collects, analyzes, and disseminates data and information that is fundamental to the health and efficient operations of the State of Rhode Island’s Continuum of Care (CoC), which is comprised of state agencies, community partners, and individuals that guide the state’s homelessness policies and administer federal and state homeless funds as they work to build a statewide system to prevent and end homelessness. Building off the organization’s role as HMIS Administrator for the CoC, RICH’s next Executive Director will work with staff, consultants, partner organizations, funders, and researchers to advance data and evidence informed practices and strategies, including and especially coordinated assessment and housing placement, to rapidly and permanently end homelessness among individuals and families.
The Executive Director is accountable for the overall leadership, direction and management of the organization’s resources to accomplish the goals and mission of the organization. The Executive Director should have experience in financial management, community relations, program delivery, organizational development, strategic planning, and experience using data and information to strengthen both practice and systems. The Executive Director must have empowering leadership skills to work with staff, Coalition partners, Board and community stakeholders. The Executive Director exemplifies RICH’s values and nurtures its organizational culture by supporting a learning community of staff, Board, homeless constituents, community stakeholders, government and political leaders. The ED reports to the Board of Directors and will work with the Board, RICH’s membership, funders and other constituents to develop a new Strategic Plan for the organization during his/her first year in the position.
KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Program Development and Management
Resource Development and Fundraising
Personnel and Operations Management
Community Collaboration and Movement Building
Strategic Communications and Public Relations
The preferred candidate has knowledge and experience in homelessness prevention and system-change work, is an energetic leader with demonstrated financial and organizational management skills, who can engage others in RICH’s mission, embraces and encourages coalition and movement building and is comfortable working with low income and marginalized populations.
The ideal candidate possesses the following attributes:
This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic leader who is truly committed to making a positive contribution to the community. Compensation between $70,000-$80,000. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.
Application deadline: 5pm EDT Monday, November 20, 2017
Candidates should submit a resume and cover letter describing their interest in this position via:
• Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, please include, “ED Search” in the subject line.
• Regular mail - Search Committee
RI Coalition for the Homeless
1070 Main St
Pawtucket, RI 02860
For more information about RI Coalition for the Homeless visit http://rihomeless.org
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, NH
We invite you to be a part of the second New England Lead Conference taking place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Nashua, NH. Hosted by the New England Lead Coordinating Committee, the conference will include a variety of educational sessions focusing on lead prevention, policy, model programs, outreach, the EPA’s Renovation, Remodeling and Repair Rule (RRP), lead abatement, compliance, and the economics of lead poisoning.
Read more >
October 4, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
The Narragansett Times: Dziobek steps down as Welcome House director
By KENDRA GRAVELLE Sep 29, 2017
SOUTH KINGSTOWN—When Joseph Dziobek accepted the position of executive director of Welcome House of South County nearly three years ago, he had expected the job would make for a simple transition into retirement.
But what was intended as a part-time gig turned into much more than that for Dziobek, who this week left his post.
“It’s been a challenge,” said Dziobek, whose last day on the job was Monday. “And it’s been very satisfying—I feel very close to the people who have been a part of it.”
Dziobek, 66, took the job at Welcome House after retiring from his career as CEO of Fellowship Health Resources. He said he intended only to stay for two or three years.
October 4, 2017 in Local Interest
Final Days to Register: 2017 Housing Fact Book Release
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Luncheon: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Location: Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence RI
October 3, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
Rhode Island College: The Defamation Experience
Monday, October 30, 2017
5:00PM - Doors Open
6:00PM - Performance
SPONSORED BY: THE DIVISION OF COMMUNITY EQUITY AND DIVERSITY AND THE DIVISION OF STUDENT SUCCESS
THE PLAY * THE DELIBERATION * THE DISCUSSION
September 27, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
NLIHC: Sign Letters to Support Equitable Housing Recovery after Devastating Hurricanes
Help ensure that low income people and neighborhoods are treated fairly after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. A broad coalition of national, state, and local organizations is calling on Congress, FEMA, and HUD to ensure that the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria is complete and equitable for everyone, especially families and individuals with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards.
September 27, 2017 in Local Interest, National News
Roger Williams University: Social Justice Month Events
Thursday, Oct 19
Mary Tefft White Center
How Housing Works
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sponsored by Housing Works RI and RWU Chief Diversity Officer
Keywords: socioeconomic status, race, jobs, housing, equity
Workshop with Brenda Clement, Director of Housing Works Rhode Island and Ame Lambert, RWU Chief Diversity Officer.
An overview of housing issues in Rhode Island and connections to the larger social justice agenda.
September 25, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: People on the move for the week of Sept. 17
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Rhode Island LISC
Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corportation has welcomed two new employees. Jeremiah O’Grady, of Lincoln, joined LISC as program officer after spending more than 12 years at ONE Neighborhood Builders as real estate project manager and director of asset management and operations.
Liz Klinkenberg, of Warwick, was hired as communications director. She brings more than 15 years of public relations experience to her new position, including work for The Miami Herald and The Providence Journal.
The Providence American: Reed Announces $300k in Community Development Grants for NeighborWorks Affiliates
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods across Rhode Island, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced an additional $300,000 in federal funding for three Rhode Island-based affiliates of NeighborWorks America (NeighborWorks). These federal funds will help NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation to provide affordable housing opportunities, generate job growth, and enhance economic stability for working families. Earlier this year, Senator Reed also helped to secure over $750,000 in federal funding for NeighborWorks affiliates in Rhode Island, bringing total NeighborWorks investment in the state to above $1 million for fiscal year 2017.
September 21, 2017 in Federal News, Local Interest
The Providence American: Providence Unveils PVD Gives Donation Station
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined members of the City Council, public safety officials, and community leaders who have been named to the PVD Gives commission for the unveiling of the City’s first Donation Station at Kennedy Plaza. The retrofitted parking meter is one of ten stations that will be installed across the city to collect funds that will support local organizations that provide housing and services to those in need.
“PVD Gives and the new Donation Stations make it easier to give back,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Our collective generosity can make all the difference in the lives of those striving to get back on their feet. I encourage visitors and residents to chip in and be part of the solution.”
September 21, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: Report: New England losing 65 acres of forestland per day
By Steve LeBlanc / Associated Press
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
BOSTON — New England has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day — a loss that comes at a time when public funding for preservation of open land, both state and federal, has also been on the decline in all six states.
That’s the conclusion of a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Forest, a research institute of Harvard University.
The study found public funding for land conservation in New England dropped by half between 2008 and 2014 to $62 million per year, slightly lower than 2004 levels.
April 06, 2018
The solution is to site projects in places that make sense environmentally and societally. The current policy, though, is nothing more than a collective shrug and the repeated claim that it’s cheaper to cut down trees than redevelop disturbed areas.
PROVIDENCE — Both climate solutions are identified as “green” — in fact, one literally is — but the Mother Nature-created one is being destroyed to make room for the manmade one.
Some proponents of the latter say chunks of the former need to be sacrificed if society is to kick its dirty fossil-fuel habitat. Their well-intentioned argument goes something like this: we can’t say no to everything and we need renewable energy.
While renewable energy is a must, it shouldn’t be given carte blanche to be sited anywhere and everywhere. If that’s the development practice Rhode Island embraces, environmental degradation will continue. Public health will suffer.
Rhode Island could lead the way, and the best place to start would be to stop bulldozing trees, covering open space and marginalizing farmland in the name of green energy. This effort would require some universal sacrifice, diversified leadership, a touch of political will, National Grid mapping Rhode Island’s grid capacity, accounting that includes environmental and public-health costs, plenty of carrots, and at least one stick (disincentivize).
“Grow Smart strongly endorses the governor’s renewable-energy goals (1,000 megawatts by 2020), but how we achieve that goal is as important as how that goal is reached,” said Scott Millar, community technical assistance manager for Grow Smart Rhode Island. “We need to concentrate as much growth as possible in the urban developed core.”
Two workshops at Grow Smart Rhode Island’s recent all-day Power of Place Summit held at the Rhode Island Convention Center explored the intersection of green energy and green space.
A morning workshop titled “Rhode Island Forests: Our Invisible Green Giant” discussed the condition of the state’s forests, their economic contributions and how the use of smart-growth techniques can accommodate economic opportunity, such as renewable-energy development, while preserving forestland.
An afternoon workshop titled “A Smart Growth Approach to Renewable Energy Siting” discussed the strategies needed to increase incentives for siting solar and wind projects in and on already-developed areas.
Rhode Island has ambitious goals for renewable-energy generation, and expanding solar and wind power is critical to meeting these goals and reducing, and eventually eliminating, greenhouse-gas emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Energy efficiency also plays a major role in reducing Rhode Island’s reliance on out-of-state fossil fuels, most notably natural gas.
Currently, the state’s rural communities — Coventry, Foster, Exeter, Richmond and Hopkinton, to name a few — are being asked, some would argue made, to sacrifice forests and farmland for renewable-energy sprawl. It’s a counterproductive situation that is frustrating conservationists, municipal planners, developers and landowners.
The siting of solar and wind projects is a complex issue wrapped in property rights, tax revenues, the carrying capacity of power-grid infrastructure, smart grids, microgrids, energy storage, incentives, and environmental protections. Municipal ordinances and comprehensive plans aren’t designed to address Rhode Island’s land rush that is trampling woodlands and taking farmland out of production.
Exeter’s renewable-energy ordinance, for example, was adopted in late 2015, after applications were filed for two small solar projects. Since then, a Rhode Island developer has proposed erecting four solar-energy systems totaling nearly 37 megawatts of energy.
Foster’s new town planner is dealing with four recently built solar projects, one that is under construction, one that is headed to the Planning Board and two more that are in the preliminary stages. Forty acres in the Scituate Reservoir watershed have already been clear-cut to accommodate the first five renewable-energy projects, according to Jennifer Siciliano.
A proposed 32.7-megawatt solar project on 567 mostly wooded acres along Shermantown and Tower Hill roads in North Kingstown has created much resident angst. To address the town’s outpouring of concern, the developer recently cut the project’s megawatt proposal by more than half.
In Cranston, 60 acres of forestland was clear-cut and ledge was blasted to make room for 60,000 solar panels.
Exeter’s planner, Ashley Sweet, told ecoRI News last month that the town needs to “beef up” its ordinance to deal with utility-scale energy projects.
“The current ordinance doesn’t adequately protect the town or meet the comprehensive plan,” she said. “We have a private solar developer who has targeted Exeter and is trying to annihilate zoning ordinances for utility development.”
Few oppose Rhode Island’s need for more wind and solar energy, but where many of these projects are being built or proposed is a growing problem. During the past few years Rhode Island has experienced a land grab to build renewable energy in areas with capacity, most of it solar and much of it on farmland and forestland. In fact, the state’s energy programs and incentives inadvertently push such development to green space. Efforts to change this paradigm are moving slowly.
To build renewable-energy projects on landfills — Rhode Island has about 100, according to Millar — brownfields, rooftops, parking lots and other developed areas requires carrots, such as incentives, renewable-energy certificates (commonly called RECs), tax breaks, favorable lease rates, and grants.
Other developed and disturbed areas, such as gravel banks, median strips, land along highways and vacant big-box stores and their vast parking lots, don’t require as many, if any, carrots to reappropriate. Millar noted that underutilized fields that aren’t covering prime farmland soil would also make sense for renewable-energy development.
Rhode Island has an ample inventory of these developed and underused areas, but they are largely ignored when it comes to erecting wind and solar infrastructure. The Ocean States needs to reverse this shortsighted trend, and quickly.
New England neighbors Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont have already forged a system that incentivizes the development of renewable energy in preferred locations.
Vermont, for instance, has discouraged the development of renewables in or on prime agricultural soil and wildlife habitat, on forestland, or in wetlands.
Millar noted that Vermont has plenty of land in its preferred locations to host the infrastructure needed to meet its renewable-energy targets. He also mentioned that New Jersey has mapped its “preferred” and “not preferred” locations for solar siting. New Jersey identified that 29 percent of its land is preferred for siting solar, dominated by existing residential and commercial areas. It also determined that 63 percent of its land is not preferred — i.e., forests, wetlands and agriculture.
New Jersey’s solar-siting program was built on consensus that utility-scale solar projects shouldn’t be permitted on open space; working farms should be allowed to install a small amount of solar to meet their energy needs; and where solar and wind is put matters more than generating green power.
New Jersey is currently ranked fifth in the United States with regards to total installed solar capacity.
Meg Kerr, senior director of policy for the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, moderated the March 29 “A Smart Growth Approach to Renewable Energy Siting” discussion. She noted that Rhode Island needs to do a better job siting renewable-energy projects in the urban-built environment using smart-growth principles.
“We don’t have localized incentives right now to develop on developed lands,” Kerr said. “Communities feel unprepared, but we need to power society’s many energy needs without using fossil fuels.”
The panel discussion Kerr led featured Erika Niedowski, policy advocate for the Acadia Center; Paul Raducha, senior developer for Kearsarge Energy LP; and Grow Smart’s Millar.
“Keep in mind we have to deal with climate change. There’s an urgency to take climate action,” Niedowski said. “We can’t put renewable-energy development on hold as we figure this out. When it comes siting, we’re dealing with two green goals: renewable energy and environmental protections.”
She rejected the suggestion that some planners, such as Sweet, have made to place a moratorium on renewable-energy projects until municipalities and the state adopt updated ordinances and guidelines.
“We need to continue to green our energy supply,” Niedowski said. “So how do we accelerate the rate of renewables development while protecting natural resources?”
Rhode Island currently has 244 megawatts of renewable energy, in the form of onshore wind (104 megawatts), solar (64), landfill gas/anaerobic digestion (35), offshore wind (30) and hydropower (11).
Millar noted that 200 of those 244 megawatts of renewable energy were developed outside the state’s urban service boundary. Many of those 200 megawatts, especially the solar-produced ones, were sited on what was once woodland and farmland.
“We’re losing large forested areas to more fragmentation,” he said. “It’s critical that we protect this resource. Forests mitigate the impacts of climate change, efficiently storing and capturing carbon through photosynthesis.”
Rhode Island’s forestland, however, is more than just a carbon sink. The state’s 400,000 acres of forest, about 70 percent of which is privately owned, protect drinking-water supplies, reduce pollution, protect against flooding, moderate air temperatures, and provide wildlife habitat.
The late Alfred L. Hawkes, executive director of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island for 35 years, called the Ocean State’s forestland the state’s most valuable resource.
Forest products also contribute an estimated $710 million annually to the Rhode Island economy and support some 3,300 jobs.
Despite these many benefits, Christopher Modisette, state resource conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, “Our forests are taken for granted and continue to disappear. As pressures continue to mount, how do we protect this incredible resource?”
Modisette moderated the “Rhode Island Forests: Our Invisible Green Giant” panel discussion that featured Bill Buffum, a research associate in the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Natural Resources Science, Tee Jay Boudreau, deputy chief for the Rhode Island Department of Management’s Division of Forest Environment, and Christopher Riely, coordinator of the Rhode Island Woodland Partnership.
“Forests and woodlands are a big part of the climate solution,” Riely said. “They’re carbon-eating machines.”
The state’s Office of Energy Resources (OER) is studying the controversial siting issue. An OER stakeholders group has been meeting monthly since last summer.
The Rhode Island Energy Resources Act, which addresses renewable-energy siting, has broad support, including from OER, DEM, the Rhode Island Farm Bureau, the Northeast Clean Energy Council and the Conservation Law Foundation.
Courtesy of ecoRI News
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