Stabbing victim calls for better protection, resources for homeless people

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Eileen Boarman is currently living in a shelter and in the process of getting an apartment but says if things don’t move quickly, she may be forced to sleep out in the street, where she was attacked earlier this year.

“I feel safe nowhere,” she said Tuesday.

Boarman, 59, was stabbed while sleeping in a pedestrian tunnel in downtown Providence on Jan. 2. Police said the attack was unprovoked and so serious that Boarman needed surgery.

“My hand felt funny. I pulled the blanket off my hand and there was just blood gushing out everywhere,” she recalled.

Surveillance footage led police to Johnson and Wales University student Conor Noll, 22, who was eventually charged with felony assault.

More than three months later, Boarman is still recovering and in need of physical therapy. On Tuesday, she and homeless rights advocates used the opportunity to raise awareness of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in the capital city.

“I do feel like I’m struggling with trying to feel secure that when my shelter closes on the 20th, I’m not going to these other shelters. They’re not safe places,” Boarman added.

The group called on city and state leaders to provide better protection and resources for homeless people.

Boarman said she’s been in the process of securing funding and permanent housing but that process has been slow going.

“I don’t really want to go back to sleeping on the street, but that will be my only choice,” she said. “I would rather have a place to stay. I’m working on it.”

Noll is due back in court next month. Police said they haven’t found any connection between the stabbing and other assaults in Providence or his home state of Pennsylvania.

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