PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cranston Street Armory shelter in Providence officially closed Monday after five months in operation.
The Rhode Island Department of Housing announced new emergency shelter locations in various areas across the state to help those who are still experiencing homelessness.
Last week it was announced that 55 rooms will open in Warwick at the Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard. The agency OpenDoors RI is helping that location.
The Community Care Alliance is adding 40 rooms among one hotel in Woonsocket and two hotels in North Smithfield.
WATCH: Crews, National Guard clean up after Cranston Street Armory closes (Story continues below.)
Additionally, Crossroads Rhode Island is adding 10 beds at their Broad Street facility and the Emmanual House in Providence has a total of 20 beds available.
“Because of the way the state’s coordinated entry system is structured, it’s not the case that all new beds will be allocated to any one category of Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness,” such as those staying at the armory, the Housing Department wrote in a release.
Some sites will phase in the new capacity throughout the week, the Housing Department added.
The Housing Department said the state is continuing to expand emergency housing across the state, such as using empty cottages in Burrillville to house 10 families, and more sites are being looked at.
Seasonal shelters have also been expanded in Westerly, Pawtucket, Smithfield and Providence. The shelters that remain open are:
- OpenDoors RI’s warming center in Pawtucket
- Catholic Charities at Emmanuel House in Providence
- Community Care Alliance’s hotel program in Smithfield
- Crossroads Rhode Island’s couples shelter on Hartford Avenue in Providence
- WARM’s expanded capacity in Westerly
Gov. Dan McKee and the Housing Department have proposed a budget amendment of $29 million in new resources and a new state-level low-income housing tax credit.
Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor told 12 News that includes up to a million dollars to be able to allocate money to support cities and towns that engage in homeless services and host homeless centers.
“In addition, there are investment tools to help us build more permanent housing,” Pryor told 12 News.
“The solution to homelessness ultimately, isn’t shelter, it’s housing, as well as important social services, including mental health and including substance use and other key services. But permanent housing is key,” he added.
The Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness told 12 News the coalition recognizes the state is working diligently to get funding to service providers to get shelters open, “but that this is still not enough to meet the high number of unsheltered Rhode Islanders.”
“Our state is in desperate need of advanced planning and enhanced collaboration with system leads and direct service providers to address this crisis,” a statement from the coalition continued.