PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence city councilor is firing back at critics who claim he lacks empathy for the state’s homeless population after participating in a cleanup earlier this week.
Councilman Nicholas Narducci expressed his frustration with the flak he’s been getting ever since the Providence City Council posted photos of him taking part in the cleanup on its social media accounts.
Narducci claims the cleanup, which took place Tuesday afternoon, was organized after neighbors complained about litter and debris under the Route 146 overpass along Branch Avenue.
“What I did as a city councilman is what my tax-paying constituents asked me to do,” Narducci said. “I cleaned up litter and debris on Branch Avenue and underneath the bridge. I’ve got school kids that walk back and forth to school every day that had to walk into the street to get by it.”
Watch the full interview with Councilman Narducci in the video above.
The social media post spurred a firestorm of comments, several of which dismissed the cleanup as a waste of taxpayer money, and homeless advocates gathered underneath the overpass Wednesday demanding the state do more to help the city’s homeless population.
Narducci reiterated that no one was displaced by the cleanup and he’s actively working to address the city’s homelessness crisis.
“Everyone is still there, the encampment is still there,” he said. “Not once was anybody asked to leave.”
As for the criticism, Narducci said it was uncalled for, adding that he’s helped hundreds of Providence families and youth over the years.
“For my kids and my wife to hear some of the things that were said – you people don’t even know me,” he said. “You don’t know what I’m about. You don’t know how hard I work, period.”
Narducci also expressed his frustrations with Councilwoman Kat Kerwin, who posted on her concerns about the cleanup on her own social media account.
“I would never do that to one of my colleagues,” he said of Kerwin’s post. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve had disagreements with colleagues, but they were always face-to-face.”
12 News initially reached out to the spokesperson for the Providence City Council regarding an interview with Narducci, but she did not respond with his availability.