Fair House neighbors say conditions much improved

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It’s gotten quieter at Fair House, the grand Victorian on Fair Street in Pawtuxet that the House of Hope has converted into 10 housing units for homeless people.

“It’s gotten a lot better,” Ward 1 Councilman Richard Corley said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Since complaints over individuals arguing and yelling outside the house into the evening and night were first raised about three week ago, the House of Hope has revised the hours a manager is on premise and held a neighborhood meeting at nearby St. Peter Church.

Corley was at the meeting attended by about 50 area residents and representatives of the police and the House of Hope. No residents of Fair House attended, although they were made aware of the meeting and were welcome.

Corley said Laura Jaworski, director of the House of Hope, did a good job of hearing out residents and explaining the program. He also commended the house manager for “educating people [tenants] on what’s acceptable.”

“There have been no complaints, only positive comments,” he said.

Les Rolston, who lives about 300 feet from Fair House, said Wednesday that conditions have “improved dramatically.” While there haven’t been the outdoor verbal confrontations that raised neighborhood concerns, Rolston brought up another issue.

“The air conditioning is so loud that it sounds like it’s right in front of our house,” he said.

Rolston, who worked in the city building department before retiring, brought the issue to the city’s attention. He suggested some sort of sound screen could be erected.

Mayor Scott Avedisian noted that many of those now living in Fair House are not accustomed to having a place of their own of being part of the neighborhood.

“You have different populations that are not used to living in a community,” he said. He said the House of Hope is “tweaking” its operations at Fair House and commended Jaworski on her responsiveness to neighborhood complaints. Police did respond to incidents where tenants argued outside. No arrests were made.

At the meeting, police reminded neighbors to call them, not the House of Hope, should there be further disturbances.

Rolston, who has done volunteer work in shelters, is sympathetic to the homeless and to the House of Hope efforts to find these people permanent housing.

“We’re all for it,” he said. “People get a bad break.”

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