WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — An innovative way to shelter homeless individuals arrived Wednesday morning in Woonsocket.
The city purchased the 45-foot coach bus in June and turned it into a miniature shelter known as a “Dignity Bus.”
The $150,000 bus can house up to 20 people, which is about half of Woonsocket’s estimated homeless population.
The bus features double-decker bunks that have individual beds, privacy curtains and phone chargers. The temperature-controlled bus also has TVs, as well as storage for belongings and even pets.
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City leaders previously told 12 News the bus can help meet people’s immediate needs much faster than having them go through the process of applying for public assistance.
“You don’t just serve homeless people, you look to find ways of making them the solution,” City Council Vice President Valerie Gonzalez said.
Homeless people were involved in designing and building the bus, according to Anthony Zorbaugh, CEO of The Source, which provided the bus.
“It has been a collaboration, and I really look forward to more collaborative work like this because I really do believe it’s going to make a big difference in our state,” Gonzalez added.
Woonsocket is only the second community in the country that owns a Dignity Bus.