Rhode Island Governor

Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee, front, waves during his inaugural address during a ceremonial inauguration ceremony, Sunday, March 7, 2021, in front of the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I. 

(The Center Square) – In an effort to end homelessness in Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee said the state is instituting immediate measures to address the long-standing issue.

In a news release, the governor announced he, along with Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, have expanded capacity at emergency shelters and a Quarantine and Isolation facility is opening to serve families who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is crucial that we provide shelter to get Rhode Islanders off the streets – now,” McKee said in the release. “Addressing this crisis requires a combination of short-term and long-term initiatives, and today’s announcement is an immediate and necessary step to help those experiencing homelessness.”

According to the release, the expansion of beds is a direct result of efforts by the McKee administration working in conjunction with the Office of Housing and Community Development seeking partnerships with organizations working to end homelessness.

“The Coalition is grateful for these lifesaving resources and for the shared commitment of state leadership,” said Caitlin Frumerie, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness said in the release. “We still have a lot more work to do to ensure that each Rhode Islander has a safe warm place to sleep this winter and that all Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to achieve permanent affordable housing."

According to the release, 130 emergency shelter beds and wrap-around housing services have been funded to serve Woonsocket, Providence, Pawtucket and East Providence.

In Woonsocket, Community Care Alliance will add 10 hotel vouchers beginning this week, and in Providence, Open Doors is expanding its operations to add 15 new beds, according to the release.

In Pawtucket, Amos House, according to the release, is preparing to open a shelter program at the former Memorial Hospital, anticipating families being able to utilize the shelter next week. The shelter will feature 80 beds in conjunction with the City of Pawtucket, Lockwood Development and VS USA.

In East Providence, House of Hope is planning to add an additional 25 beds through local motel rooms, the release reads, as the McKee administration will talk with Continuum of Care to increase emergency shelter needs and potential expansion projects.

According to the release, the McKee administration announced the opening of the Quarantine and Isolation facility on Thursday in Providence with 20 new beds for those who are dealing with COVID-19 and need to quarantine or isolate.

In November, according to the release, the McKee administration invested nearly $4 million into the hotel shelter program for winter, which provides 150 hotel rooms to the program. A $5 million investment was made to the project for nearly 220 new emergency beds in shelters and hotels.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.