PROVIDENCE, RI – In a continuing effort to address chronic street homelessness in Rhode Island, the McKee Administration today announced expanded capacity at the forthcoming shelter space located at 662 Hartford Avenue in Providence.
The property at 662 Hartford Avenue is owned, but currently unused, by the Rhode Island Department of Behavior Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH). As approved by the State Properties Committee on Tuesday, January 10, this site will be used as 24/7 shelter space with up to 40 available beds, increased from the original proposal of 16 beds. The current goal is to open this shelter by the end of January.
Shelter and supportive services will be provided by Crossroads Rhode Island and funded through the FY23 SFRF Homeless Assistance funding. Crossroads plans to operate 662 Hartford Avenue as a dedicated Emergency Couple's Shelter. While priority will be given to unhoused couples, individuals may be eligible for services based on the availability of beds on any given day or night. Crossroads will work within the Coordinated Entry System to identify and serve those individuals and couples with the highest acuity.
"Expanding Rhode Island's shelter capacity with the addition of the Hartford Avenue property will help us provide more Rhode Islanders who are experiencing homelessness with a warm, safe place," said Governor Dan McKee. "I thank our cross agency team and Crossroads Rhode Island for their partnership as we continue to ensure increased shelter capacity and longer-term housing solutions."
"While the only long-term solution to ending homelessness in Rhode Island is to build more permanent housing, it is critical that we continue to make immediate investments in low-barrier resources that make warm shelter and much-needed supportive services more accessible to more individuals in need," said Rhode Island Department of Housing Secretary Josh Saal. "We thank our partners at Crossroads Rhode Island for their ongoing support and expertise, and we look forward to launching this site as soon as possible."
"The housing and homelessness crisis in Rhode Island requires a coordinated and comprehensive response. Crossroads is pleased to be leading the effort to manage the Hartford Avenue Shelter and provide couples and single adults experiencing homelessness with a safe place to stay," said Karen Santilli, CEO, Crossroads Rhode Island. "While our most urgent priority is ensuring the health and safety of our shelter guests, we are equally focused on providing shelter guests with support and resources to find permanent housing. Crossroads will have housing problem solving teams available to work with adults at the Hartford Avenue Shelter. We look forward to working closely with Secretary Saal on this effort and appreciate the state's investment and creative use of state property to open this emergency shelter."
This shelter expansion announcement comes as the Department of Housing is continuing to make immediate investments in Rhode Island, including addressing the issues of housing insecurity and homelessness in Rhode Island through expanding statewide shelter capacity and standing up low-barrier solutions like the 24/7 Warming Station at the Cranston Street Armory; committing nearly $10 million to offer legal services to individuals at families at risk of becoming homeless; and releasing $166 million in funding to support affordable housing development in Rhode Island.