Rhode Island capitol building

The Rhode Island capitol building in Providence

(The Center Square) – Expanding shelter capacity amid Rhode Island’s homeless problem is the focus of a new $5 million initiative.

To respond to current and projected needs, Gov. Dan McKee said families and individuals will benefit from the investment that will expand homeless shelters across the state.

“All Rhode Islanders deserve a safe place to sleep at night and expanding our shelter capacity will help ensure we have the resources to support all families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness,” McKee said in a release. “We thank the many shelters, nonprofit organizations and housing advocates across the state for their partnership in this important effort.”

According to the release, the state has solicited for expanding shelters with a heavy focus on widening the availability of trauma-informed shelters that serve couples, families and individuals.

Through the Office of Housing and Community Development, according to the release, Rhode Island is seeking interest from current Consolidated Homeless Fund providers. However, organizations can partner with vendors who are not in the program to develop and submit proposals.

“To make homelessness rare and brief, we need to stabilize households who are most vulnerable, while simultaneously building units with supportive services for individuals and families who are unhoused,” Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal said in a release. “We understand that goal cannot be reached overnight, which makes the expansion of noncongregate shelter capacity vitally important.”

According to the release, available funding can be used to expand shelters to prepandemic levels. Plus, the state is working with Amos House to continue the Landlord Challenge Initiative, which provides incentives to landlords willing to lease to those currently in need of housing.

Landlords would be eligible to receive $3,000 in the form of a signing bonus on a one-year lease for properties that are available, safe, and habitable. They would also receive $1,000 for each additional housing unit in the program.

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.