Cranston Street Armory heating center gets big approval while challenges lie ahead

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island’s State Properties Committee approved the plan Tuesday morning to open a temporary heating shelter at The Cranston Street Armory.

The four-story building will use its ballroom area as a space for 50 individual beds to open as soon as Dec. 7 and stay open till mid-April.

However, the state still faces challenges in opening the shelter.

The Department of Housing is still searching for a homeless fund vendor, meaning they’re still looking for someone to operate the day-to-day functions of the heating center.

Plans to use the armory as a warming center were announced on Nov. 30.

On that date, the state sent letters of intent to several “consolidated homeless fund vendors” to help operate the site. However, Secretary of Housing Joshua Saal said he hasn’t received any responses but doesn’t seem worried.

“We haven’t received a letter of response but when we issue letters of interest, we expect to hear a response,” Saal said.

ABC 6 News spoke with a homeless man, who chose not to be identified, staying at the encampment outside the State House Tuesday afternoon, who said the heating center is a solid temporary solution for the homeless.

“Of course, I’d check it out, to get out of here yeah,” he said.

However, he said the shelter isn’t the answer to the long-term lack of affordable housing.

“You got to be in at a certain time and out I want a place where I can make my own rules, but I can’t right now,” he said.

Categories: News, Rhode Island