2 new homeless shelters prepare to serve over 100 homeless Rhode Islanders
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — At least 500 people in Rhode Island are homeless, according to the Community Care Alliance, and by Friday, two temporary shelters hope to help at least 100 of those people.
An opportunity for a bed began Thursday at a hotel in Smithfield as the Northern Rhode Island Shelter has opened, led by the CCA, who has been granted $1.4 million to do so by the state.
“We are hopeful the state continues this project and others of its kind as long as that need exists,” Michelle Taylor, vice president of Social and Health Services at the CCA, told ABC6.
The building, one of two at the hotel, has 56 private rooms, ready to serve around 80 people over the next six months.
Taylor said that’s a luxury not many can afford.
“The reality is that there are some people who do decide to remain on the street rather than go to a large congregate shelter or a dormitory style shelter because they often have trauma histories or they often have mental health challenges or other difficulties that make it hard for them to be around large groups of people,” she said.
And the Cranston Street Armory, led by the National Guard, has 50 beds ready to hold those currently living in the cold.
Col. David Lemont told ABC 6 News they have been prepared for situations like this, saying, “We’re also very familiar with this as we’ve supposed similar missions, in the COVID-19 response in the alternate hospital sites.”
The armory, also with a wing for minor to major medical emergencies, opens Friday after the National Guard was contacted just earlier this week.
“Its really been an impressive operation we’ve been here since Monday and were ready to go starting tomorrow,” Lamont added.
The Northern Rhode Island Shelter, opened Thursday, already filled 19 of the 56 available rooms.
Both shelters are prepared to give people what they need from a bed and warmth, to counseling services.
“If you connect people with important resources, you actually create safer communities,” Taylor said.
In a letter on Thursday, the housing secretary is also now requesting information from the coalition about the homelessness encampments in the state, as well as the waiting list of those in need of a bed.