Burrillville residents speak out on proposed homeless ‘cottage’ housing plans

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island’s Housing Department proposed “cottage” housing for the homeless population in Burrillville Tuesday night.

The Tri-County Community Action Agency proposed new housing for those experiencing homelessness to be developed on the Eleanor Slater Hospital campus in Burrillville. Residents spoke out about the proposal, some for it, and some strongly against.

The state is looking to house 30 people, or 10 families, in empty cottages at the Zambarano unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital.

Many residents did not like the idea and had various questions for the agency.

“Is it physically appropriate — if we are going to be able to help homeless families, we have to make sure we are putting them in an environment for them to succeed,” said a Burrillville resident.

With approval, the families would live there for about one year.

“Only a year? I think it is ridiculous. There is Memorial Hospital in the city — why not redo that and make that a place for the homeless?” explained another resident.

Others felt supportive of the decision and said they would like to see the agency take over the Zambarano unit.

A third resident explained, “Straight and narrow path — think they want to get their lives straight and I think they deserve a chance.”

“If there are strict rules and regulations that are going to stop those items and keep those items at bay then I certainly would never have a problem helping any family,” they concluded.

Although there was opposition to the proposal, the Tri-County Agency and the Burrillville Town Council decided to meet again at a later date follow up on concerns from both sides.

Categories: News, Rhode Island