ProJo: Proposal to address chronic homelessness fails amid R.I. budget debate

PROVIDENCE — By 8 p.m., state lawmakers hit the halfway mark in their debate over the proposed $9.9-billion budget, after a wrenching debate over a failed bid to raise the state's hotel tax to fund a program in the works for two years to attack “chronic homelessness.”

This debate centered on an amendment proposed by freshman Rep. Liana Cassar, D-Barrington, that would have raised the hotel tax from 5% to 5.5% to raise a projected $500,000 as a quasi-public match for money raised through a “social impact bond″ and federal funds to provide housing vouchers to the chronically homeless.

Money for the program was stripped by House budget-writers from the budget proposed in January by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

On one side of Friday night's House debate were lawmakers speaking about people they met working at homeless shelters, invited in some cases to sleep in their homes and, in one case, the plight of a homeless, drug-addicted brother.

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Courtesy of Providence Journal

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