PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The 24-hour warming station at the Cranston Street Armory will be phased out in April, according to a statement sent out by a city spokesperson Friday.
The state opened the 24-hour warming station late last year to provide temporary shelter to the homeless during the winter months.
R.I. Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor and Amos House CEO Eileen Hayes met with the Providence City Council president, as well as other elected leaders and community partners, Thursday night to discuss the future of the warming station.
Both Pryor and Hayes reiterated that the Cranston Street Armory won’t become a permanent homeless shelter, according to the city spokesperson.
Dylan Conley, who lives near the warming center and serves on the state’s Land Use Commission, tells 12 News the warming shelter has become unsafe.
“The homelessness issue is a very real challenge,” Conley said. “It’s a crisis. I was proud our neighborhood was going to do its part.”
Since the warming station opened, Conley said he’s seen an increase in drug use and litter in the neighborhood.
“I can’t remember a single night coming home and not having the lights flashing,” he said. “I love it here and I care deeply about housing … but this is hard.”
The Providence City Council will be holding a community meeting regarding the warming station’s future within the next few weeks, though a date hasn’t been set yet.
“I love their intentions,” Conley said of the state in regards to opening the warming center. “I think people intended to fix the Superman building for a decade. Intentions are not commitments.”
“I need verbal commitments from state leadership indicating my neighborhood is going to be safe,” he continued.
The city spokesperson said the Providence City Council is committed to working with the state leadership to find “the most humane solution to care for the guests at the Cranston Street Armory while the facility remains open.”
12 News reached out to Pryor’s office for comment, but were told he was unavailable.