PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With a winter storm and frigid weather on the way, advocates voiced their concern for the homeless during a protest outside the Rhode Island State House Wednesday night.
A 24-hour warming station for the homeless opened inside the Cranston Street Armory last week but advocates say there is not enough space.
Gov. Dan McKee selected the Amos House to run the shelter, which includes a sleeping area with 66 cots, a medical facility, a cafeteria and gathering space, and an office where provider services will be available.
The temporary warming station will offer three meals per day and showers and will be open daily through April 15.
Advocates believe too many people are crammed into the warming station and say the state needs to continue to find space for the unhoused. They recommend hotels.
“This is a very important problem that I think we all need to realize is here, it is here to stay and we either need to solve it or this happens every week until we are done,” said Pamela Poniatowski, Tri Chair RI Poor People’s Campaign.
The warming station opened up days after a homeless encampment was removed from Smith Hill. The encampment was removed after a judge sided with McKee’s administration in a legal dispute over whether the state was allowed to force them to leave.
McKee’s administration handed out notices earlier this month to the homeless protesters, ordering them to leave the State House grounds.