Advocates to hold vigil for RI homeless population

Barbara Kalil never thought she would be homeless, but that was the very problem she found herself facing in 2006.

"I had nobody to go to, I had nobody to ask for help," Kalil said.

She's no longer homeless, and through the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, she's trying to help others.

Kalil said she wishes she could have done more to help Wayne Strobel, 52, who was hit and killed by a car earlier this summer in Cranston. She said he was walking to Harrington Hall, a homeless shelter where he would sometimes stay the night, when he was hit by a pickup track at the intersection of Pontiac Avenue and Howard Avenue.

"No one deserves that. People have families, people have lives, people have had jobs, people have children and then all of a sudden that means nothing?" Kalil said.

She and other advocates are now asking the state to fund a housing program for the homeless. They think housing could have prevented Strobel's death.

NBC 10 asked Kalil how a program like that would be funded.

"That's probably the issue people don't want to hear about. Yeah, it does come from taxes," Kalil said.

Kalil hopes a vigil this Thursday will bring attention to homelessness, which she said can be exacerbated by mental health issues and substance abuse.

Since March, Kalil said, five homeless people have died in Rhode Island, including Strobel.

A vigil for him is set to take place at Harrington Hall Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m.