With Cranston Street Armory closure, Rhode Island expands new homeless shelters

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — With the Cranston Street Armory in Providence closing Monday, the Department of Housing says it’s expanding emergency shelters in several locations.

Those sites include North Smithfield, Providence, Warwick, and Woonsocket.

The Department of Housing says these sites will have the capacity to serve about 150 homeless people. The occupancy at the Cranston Street Armory was below 100 people.

“These numbers are a decline from a peak of approximately 200 in the winter and 150 as recently as two weeks ago,” said Joey Lindstrom, who’s with the Department of Housing.

Lindstrom says that case managers at the Armory were making referrals to available shelter and housing resources throughout Rhode Island.

“Occupants of the Armory continue to secure new housing alternatives, contributing to the decrease of overnight guests,” he said.

The Department of Housing says the shelter options are:

  • OpenDoors RI is opening a new motel program in Warwick today with 55 rooms
  • Community Care Alliance will expand shelter operations in hotels with an additional 40 rooms spread among one hotel site in Woonsocket and two hotel sites in North Smithfield. These sites are set to begin accepting new occupants Monday.
  • Crossroads Rhode Island is adding 10 beds at their facility on Broad Street in Providence starting Monday
  • Capacity at Emmanuel House in Providence accounts for a total of 20 currently available beds for individuals

The Department of Housing says that not all new beds will be allocated to any one category of Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness.

Some sites, he says, will be phasing in their capacity this week.

Lindstrom says more sites are being explored and considered, such as shelter options in Burrillville for 10 families.

The Department of Housing says these shelter expansions have been “pursued in parallel to efforts that have successfully extended seasonal shelters” in Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, and Westerly.

The seasonal shelters and warming stations that are still open are:

  • OpenDoors RI’s warming center in Pawtucket
  • Catholic Charities at Emmanuel House in Providence
  • Community Care Alliance’s hotel program in Smithfield
  • Crossroads Rhode Island’s couples shelter on Hartford Avenue in Providence
  • WARM’s expanded capacity in Westerly

Gov. Dan McKee and the Department of Housing proposed a budget amendment for $29 million in new resources as well as a new state-level low-income housing tax credit.

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