Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal today announced that the State has awarded six community organizations a total of $3.5 million to add 231 new beds to the statewide homeless shelter capacity.

This $3.5 million in funding is the first round of awards from a $5 million solicitation for proposals related to shelter expansion that was distributed to qualified vendors in early September, according to a press release from Governor McKee’s office. These six projects will create 231 new beds that will be utilized this winter to better serve individuals and households across the state who are experiencing homelessness. This is in addition to 64 new beds that were funded earlier this summer through the Consolidated Homeless Fund.

“Especially as the winter months approach, it is critically important that our community shelters have the capacity to ensure all Rhode Islanders have a safe, warm place to sleep at night,” said Governor Dan McKee in a statement. “We thank Rhode Island’s strong network of social service and housing organizations for responding to this solicitation quickly, and for doing the hard work of getting these beds operational.”

Organizations and projects that will receive funding in the first round of awards include:

– Amos House Family Shelter (Pawtucket): $1,338,655
– Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center (Central Falls): $966,870
– Catholic Social Services of Rhode Island (Providence): $20,000
– Sojourner House (Providence): $180,899
– Thrive Behavior Health (West Warwick): $827,103
– Westerly Area Rest Meals (WARM) Center (Westerly): $220,103

“We are pleased to deliver a high-impact level of funding to support fully planned projects less than a month after our request for proposals was distributed,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. in a statement “While our long-term goal is to take a comprehensive approach that diverts people from homelessness and ultimately functionally ends homelessness in Rhode Island entirely through the creation of supportive housing, expanding shelter capacity provides much-needed, immediate relief for individuals and families experiencing homelessness today. I thank our partners across the state for giving voice to the voiceless, and the front-line workers for their tireless commitment to the vulnerable populations they serve day in, day out.”

“Having worked closely with the providers and Governor McKee and Secretary Saal, I am encouraged by all who have worked diligently to get to this first step to provide shelter beds for the growing number of unhoused individuals and families in the state,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, who worked closely with Governor McKee, Secretary Saal and housing providers on developing solutions to meet the need. “The Governor’s commitment to quickly continuing this effort will enable the providers to manage shelters for all that need it as the cold weather approaches.”

“Last night, as the weather got chilly enough that many homes turned on their heat, we know of 370 people who slept outside. We are pleased that Governor McKee and Director Saal have moved quickly to disburse funding so shelter beds can be ready before freezing temperatures arrive,” said Caitlin Frumerie, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless in a statement. “We still have a way to go to address this growing crisis, but we will continue to collaborate until no one is living outside. We congratulate the organizations who were awarded funds and thank them for working diligently to expand their services.”

The Department of Housing expects to announce further awards related to shelter expansion in the coming weeks.

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