The second annual Joyce Ioanes Advocacy Award was presented to the family of John Joyce, a dedicated advocate for the homeless, at an award ceremony in the Lobby of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals today. Each year, during Mental Health Month, the award is presented to an individual who most embodies the passion, dedication, leadership and spirit with which Joyce Ioanes advocated for individuals diagnosed with mental illness or substance abuse.
"John was a well-known advocate for the homeless, and his influence will be felt for years to come," said Craig Stenning. "A large percentage of homeless individuals have mental illness or substance use disorders. Housing is a critical part of recovery, and John's efforts helped to empower this population and supported the recovery process."
Guest speakers included Governor Lincoln Chafee, Representative Deb Ruggiero, Deputy Majority Leader and Michelle Brophy, Director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Director of BHDDH, Craig Stenning, presented the award to Megan Smith, life partner of John Joyce.
Among Joyce's many accomplishments, he worked with the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project and legislators to introduce and pass the Homeless Hate Crime Bill. He wrote the Homeless Bill of Rights and worked with advocates and legislators across the State to pass it. The Rhode Island Homeless Bill of Rights is the first in the nation.