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In the News - To Homeless, River Cleanup Raises Fear of Displacement

By Katie Mulvaney—Providence Journal USA TODAY NETWORK

WOONSOCKET – T.A. had one thing on her mind when she arrived at the Safe Haven drop-in center Wednesday afternoon: This Saturday’s massive volunteer effort to clean up the banks of the Blackstone River.

T.A., a slight, skittish woman with a worn look, heard that the work would stretch across the weekend. She worried her campsite and belongings would be targeted, destroyed and trucked away from the spot where she’s been living.

Danielle Dextradeur, a peer specialist working at Safe Haven, advised T.A. to move her property to a safe place.

“Where? Where am I going to move it? Where am I going to go?” said T.A., who asked to be identified by her initials out of fear.

Dextradeur reminded T.A. that she has rights under the Homeless Bill of Rights, passed by state lawmakers in 2012, ensuring that people without housing have the “right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her personal property.”

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