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Local Nun: Sheltering Homeless is God's Work

Sister Joeline Texiera, of Sisters of Mercy at the Bristol Housing Authority, extols the need for public housing during a statewide "Housing America" event.

Helping people help themselves, particularly by helping provide them with a home, is a "work of Mercy," allowing one local to nun to continue to do God's work.

Sister Joeline Texiera, of Sisters of Mercy at the Bristol Housing Authority, shared her devotion to public housing at a “Housing America” event at the Johnston Senior Center Friday.  

"What everyone needs to know is, Nuns never retire! What happens is our ministries change. Our devotion to Gods work evolves as we age, and public housing, Bristol Housing in particular, has enabled me and Sister Edwin to continue to serve, as we carry out the works of Mercy," Sister Joeline, told the crowd, which included a collection of public housing officials and advocates from around the state. "The corporal and spiritual works Mercy are clear: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead, admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive injuries, pray for the living and the dead. Sister Edwin and I have lived these works through our passion for service to others."

The “Housing America” Advocacy Campaign head Steve Merritt outlined the problems many face and the need for groups like Bristol Housing to continue continue their work.

“Today, 15.6 million households pay more than half of their income for housing; homeless estimates are nearly 750,000," Merritt said. "America is the best housed nation on earth, yet for a growing and more economically-diverse number of families, children, seniors and persons with disabilities, affordable housing in quality communities is illusionary. As individuals, organizations and a nation, we must do more and do better to help those least able to help themselves.

"Safe, decent and affordable housing is pivotal in our society," he continued. "Beyond providing basic shelter, it positively impacts the economy and improves the quality of our environment.” 

Public Housing Association of Rhode Island President, Jim Reed agreed. “This is a wonderful opportunity to educate the public, elected officials and RI stakeholders on the positive impact public housing has on the people we serve and the Rhode Island economy."

Richard Godfrey, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, said the mission of RI Housing is to strive to ensure that all people who live or work in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. Godfrey urged voters to approve state Question 7, which asks to borrow $25 million for affordable housing.

“Approving Question 7 will have a significant impact not just on our economic future, but on some of the most pressing, immediate issues Rhode Island is facing today.” Godfrey said. “These critical funds will give a leg up to the Rhode Islanders who need it most.” 

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