PSA seeks to break stereotypes associated with homelessness
A group of social work majors has teamed up with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless in an effort to break the stereotypes that are commonly associated with homelessness.
Last semester, juniors Carolyn Artesani, Sarah Fredericks, Dayna Gordon, Sam Insana and Anneka Vanderveen filmed a public service announcement as part of their Methods of Practice course. Now they are spreading their message to the Salve Regina community and the general public to raise awareness about homelessness in Rhode Island.
The students first worked with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless during their freshman year, collecting signatures from state residents petitioning for the Homeless Bill of Rights. Ratified in June 2012, the bill prohibits the mistreatment of homeless people based on their housing status, and prevents discrimination against them.
This year, when Dr. Mary Montminy-Danna asked her students to create public service announcements, the group decided to reconnect with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless and create the public service announcement for them.
“Our main goal is to educate people, in particular college students, about the stereotypes many people associate with being homeless, and how these in most cases are not true,” Artesani said. “We want people to understand that homeless people can be families, children, veterans, and in many cases homelessness is a result of lack of affordable housing.”
The public service announcement shows the students in locations throughout Newport, holding cardboard signs featuring statistics about homelessness. “We took pictures in different parts of Newport to show that there is such a socioeconomic difference among the people that live in Newport,” Artesani continued. “For example, we have a picture with the Breakers in the background to remind people that even though we have these beautiful mansions in Newport, we also have extreme poverty.”
The video also asks viewers to sign a petition asking Gov. Lincoln Chafee to fund “Opening Doors Rhode Island,” the state’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. The plan seeks to end chronic homelessness, prevent and end all homelessness among veterans in the state, and substantially decrease the numbers of homeless families and young people, ultimately ending homelessness in 10 years.