20 Dec 2021
Joe walked into Still on Main, tools clenched in his rough, worn hands. A jack-of-all-trades, he is the building’s repair person. Moments later, Georgia entered the building, which is located on Main Street in Pawtucket. She owns a small cleaning business and is charged with making the facility sparkle.
After the building is cleaned and repairs are completed, Joe and Georgia head home to the “Staff House,” a multi-unit affordable housing facility now home to those who work in Still on Main, a mini-mall filled with BIPOC entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
It is all part of owner Leslie Moore’s overall vision for The Halo – a program that Moore hopes will create affordable housing and a commercial launching pad for BIPOC entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
With the support of the Papitto Opportunity Connection, Moore’s vision is becoming reality.
Providing a Safe Place
“POC is making a world of difference for our BIPOC community,” said Moore. “We have a home for a few families and individuals who are working to build The Halo, who struggled with housing insecurity. The investment from POC was allocated for that very purpose – to support rent for entrepreneurs and provide a safe place to live. POC made it possible for those trying to get their feet on the ground to live in a safe place.”
The fully furnished “Staff House” has four units and is conveniently located a few blocks from Still on Main, making it easy for Georgia, Joe, and the others to get to work each day.
“I’m really excited. It’s about building an opportunity for (BIPOC) people to feel important, connected and a part of their community,” said Moore. “Everyone who lives in the ’Staff House’ has a role in our community, and an important role. It is so incredible to have their basic needs taken care of [such as] housing, which means food and safety. Now we’ve covered these really important things and these folks have an opportunity to contribute.”
Before they moved into the “Staff House,” Joe and Georgia, who represent communities of color, were both homeless, the result of too many bad decisions. Now they are both employed at Still on Main and have a warm, safe place to head home to every night.
Joe was a licensed electrician before he found himself heading down the wrong path. Now, he has a fresh start. He comes to work every day and sleeps soundly at night.
“Before I started working here and had a place to live, I was living on the street. I was homeless,” said Joe. “I needed a push. Now I have little push to raise myself back from the ground. Now I am working and have a nice place to live. When I wake up to see what I’ve got it gives me more strength to do things the right way. It’s not easy, but this gives me the motivation to do things the right way.”
Georgia, too, is grateful for her fresh start.
“I had given up hope. I was devastated,” said Georgia. “I was homeless and couldn’t find a place to live. Now I am building a business, I have a place to live, and I am smiling every day. It’s awesome.”