BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island leaders are reviewing a plan to provide shelter for homeless families at the Eleanor Slater Hospital campus in Burrillville.
Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor discussed the proposal Thursday at a meeting of the State Properties Committee. He said the state is looking to house about 30 people, or 10 families, in empty cottages at the hospital’s Zambarano unit.
If approved, the families would be able to live there for about a year, according to Pryor.
“Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals does not require the use of these cottages for about another year, so that works out for them,” he said. “If something has to be revised along the way, they will tell us, but that looks like it will work very very well.”
The committee voted to allow the negotiations to move forward, which is essentially the first step in the process. Pryor said the state is in “preliminary dialogue” with the Tri-County Community Action Agency.
Sen. Jessica De La Cruz, who represents Burrillville, said residents feel in the dark about the proposal.
“I think it’s important to include the town every step of the way, no one likes to be blindsided,” she said. “There are just so many question marks so that’s why we believe that it’s really important, not only for the constituents that live in Burrillville, but the residents of Zambarano Hospital.”
When asked, Pryor said he was not yet sure about what the plan would cost.