A man with a mustache in a museum.

Homeless in Rhode Island – updates for Dec 2, 2022

It is 30 degrees in Providence, Rhode Island

From the RI State House Tree Lighting event – by Ann Clanton, contributing writer

The RI State House tree lighting happened in the middle of the Governor’s homeless housing crisis. The event went forward without a hitch, as the fireworks of protesting homeless and their advocates held signs and expressed their anger at Governor Dan McKee. As the Cranston school choir sang on the steps outside of the Senate Assembly, the homeless stood amongst Governor McKee’s staff and an unusual number of State Police.

Eric Hirsch

“This is life threatening for people, we are going to continue our protest” says Eric Hirsch, a longtime advocate for the homeless. Earlier in the day, word of Governor McKee’s plans to open a warming station for the homeless inside the Cranston Street Armory spread through the advocates for homeless community. The iconic Cranston Street Armory that last year served as a Hocus Pocus 2 film location will now house as many as 50, maximum, of the 450 or more of Rhode Island’s unsheltered homeless.

“We appreciate that they are opening a warming center, but there is no date” says Hirsch, who is also a professor at Providence College. “This is life threatening for people. Most of them are disabled and mentally ill,” says Hirsch.


From Dr. Michael Fine –


“The medical treatment for homelessness is still housing — not pretty words, promises, or medical care. The one year mortality rate for street sleeping homeless people was once estimated to be thirty percent — more than most cancers except pancreatic cancer and some lung cancers, more than most types of heart disease. If we are serious about the sanctity of human life, we need to get all those people in tents housed. Today. Now.”

Michael Fine –, Author of Rhode Island Stories 


Pawtucket a no-go?

The city of Pawtucket is in need of an overnight shelter – with the Pawtucket Police headquarters being opened 24/7, 7 days a week right now. Several applications to the state of Rhode Island to develop a building it owns, and purchased for the purpose, into a shelter, at 1139 Main Street, with 7,500 square feet of usable space, have been rejected by the state. Approx. $1.2M will be needed to develop it with showers, bathrooms, etc.

Memorial Hospital continues to have repairs made as a water leak caused over 30 families to be evacuated to an extended stay building in Warwick, just as it was to expand to serve 60 families, run by Amos House. Amos House has not responded about plans for the hospital when repairs are made.

Pawtucket’s Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center open for people to come in to keep warm.


The Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded $8.3 million to more than 90 nonprofits working on food insecurity, housing instability and homelessness prevention, and the behavioral health needs of Rhode Islanders.

State leaders funded the Foundation’s ARPA Nonprofit Support Program using $20 million from the state’s $1.1 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation for COVID-19 recovery. Governor Dan McKee, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined the Foundation to unveil the program last month.

The East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence, House of Hope in Warwick, Newport Mental Health in Middletown, the Northern RI Food Pantry in Cumberland, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Progreso Latino in Central Falls and the WARM Shelter in Westerly are among the organizations that received funding. For a full list of grant recipients, please click here.


United Way of Rhode Island

Cheryl Galloway, Assistant Vice President, Residential Loan Officer, BankNewport.

As part of BankNewport’s All In Giving program and its ongoing partnership with United Way Rhode Island, 40 employee volunteers sorted and packed 12,000 meals recently, which were distributed to local agencies, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and Conexión Latina in Newport, Community Care Alliance in Woonsocket, the North Kingstown Food Pantry, the Elisha Project in Rumford, and the Tri-County Community Action Program in Johnston.


The Veterans Home, Bristol

The Veterans Home in Bristol has 16 “domicile beds” – beds reserved for homeless veterans. Substance use cannot be a current issue and there are other eligibility requirements for emergency housing. Of the 16 domicile beds, one is currently occupied.


This is a developing, updating story.

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  1. Robert Notarianni on December 3, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    I truly can’t believe they will actually will throw disabled senior citizens out in the streets like that. This is a true statement it was happening to me. The only reason they let me stay was because I was in the Hospital on a Ventilator

  2. Jessica Donnelly on December 2, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Dr. Fine,
    Thank you for being straight forward about the seriousness of the housing crisis and the urgency to save people. You are compassionate and caring. “The sanctity of human life…”. This is truly what it is about.
    Mr, Hirsch,
    Thank you for all you have done to advocate for the homeless. Your kindness and compassion is a light in the darkness.
    To all those that are out there protesting, working to to make sure the basic needs of people are met…food, clothing, shelter and love….you are compassionate, amazing and full of love!