Judge grants restraining order; homeless can stay at State House for now

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday morning, allowing homeless people in tents to stay outside the Rhode Island State House until at least Wednesday.

Protests were underway at the Rhode Island State House Friday morning.

The state originally said the homeless people staying on the Smith Street side must leave by 9 a.m. Friday, but now that date has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 14.

That notice was challenged by attorney Richard Corley, resulting in Friday’s restraining order, “We now have a little bit of time since we’re not working on a 48 hour deadline to try to contact the state resources,” he said outside of the court house.

Corley filed a motion arguing the state is violating the first amendment rights of those camping outside the State House.

But, Bart Totten, a lawyer for the state, said in defense that this has become a dangerous and unsanitary situation, adding, “There’s garbage, there’s no bathroom facilities, there have been observed hypodermic needles, there’s lots of problems there and it’s become a safety issue.”

Totten also said the state has the right to regulate the manner, time, and place of first amendment issues.

To those camping outside of the State House, its a small step.

“We did get a victory today cause we got an extension till Wednesday that’s as long as they don’t do what they did last time, make it corrupt and do something behind the backs of people,” Adam Northrop said.

To the other advocates, this stays as a reminder to Gov. Dan McKee and his administration that this is an issue that needs tending to for a longer timeline.

The Emmanuel House is accepting people in its shelter, however the shelter only houses men.

There is no confirmation from the governors office of any other shelters that are accepting people at this time.

Categories: Providence, Rhode Island