A map showing the location of a homeless shelter.

Homeless in RI: Updated – After months’ renovation, 12-family shelter opens at URI campus

12 families can be accommodated at the new family shelter opening TODAY, February 21st at 10am on the outer campus of the University of Rhode Island, in property owned by RI BHDH. The R.I. Department of Housing and Warm Center of R.I. will cut an opening ribbon to officially open the new family shelter. It was not disclosed if families are already in residence.

After an announcement at the end of 2023, there have been weeks delay in bringing the facility to compliance and renovating it to meet its new service. Families have been waiting throughout the winter with an expected January – and now most of February – missed for new accommodations. They have been living in a number of motel rooms across the southern Rhode Island area. The building was to be temporary – with a lease expiration in April, though The Warm Center that opens it is hopeful for an extension.

The building, at 65 West Independence Way was previously operated as a group home for developmentally disabled individuals recovering from COVID, as an emergency use of BHDH before that, and has been shuttered for some time. It is next to the First Step Child Care Center at 25 W. Independence Way.

Beginning February 21 and operating through April, the temporary shelter will have 30 beds to
house up to 12 families, with the goal of obtaining permanent housing, and will be located on the
Western edge of the URI campus.

“The opening of this shelter is part of our strategy to meet the needs of vulnerable Rhode
Islanders in all areas of the state,” said Secretary of Housing Stefan Pryor. “With the opening of
this shelter, we have added 338 beds to the shelter system this winter— up 32% from the
beginning of 2023. We are grateful to the WARM Center, BHDDH, and URI for their
collaboration and dedication to finding solutions to family homelessness this winter. We thank
Governor McKee, the General Assembly, and our Congressional Legislation for the resources to
make this shelter possible.”

The daily operations of the program will be overseen by WARM’s Director of Family Services,
Amanda Imbriglio, with shelter staff on site 24/7 to ensure the program operates as intended–
providing comprehensive, wraparound, person-centered case-management services that meet the
unique needs of the families, while treating them with compassion, hope, and dignity.
“We are receiving calls daily from families who are struggling to find shelter,” said WARM
Executive Director, Russ Partridge. “With the lack of affordable housing in Washington County,
this resource here will be a game changer for our families and community.”

About the WARM Center

The WARM Center is a comprehensive social services agency providing professional and compassionate wraparound programming for those in need in southern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. We pride ourselves on treating everyone who seeks our services with compassion, dignity and respect.

WARM is the only provider of comprehensive shelter services to adult men and women in South County, Rhode Island and Southeastern CT. Gender defined dormitories shelter 13 men and 6 women. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We offer a safe, stable and alcohol/drug free environment for each resident. Support and accountability are key here – each resident works with a case manager to develop a plan specific to their particular needs as they journey towards independence. While the average stay at WARM is approximately three months, some residents may need to stay longer if their circumstances require it.

“Anita’s Kitchen” is the only soup kitchen in the region that serves lunch and dinner to the public 365 days each year.

Other programming includes Harvest Homes for homeless families; supportive transitional and permanent housing; Community Critical Needs which assist community members in crisis with case management and financial assistance to help them maintain housing; Work Readiness and Culinary Job Training; Attire for Hire, a children’s summer lunch program, street outreach, and free tax preparation for low-moderate income households.

Each day we strive to fulfill our mission to: “provide a continuum of care and service to the homeless and needy by providing affordable housing and assuring supportive services, and to help the homeless and needy build self-esteem and move toward independent and responsible living.”

WARM is a participating agency with the RI Homeless Management Information System.

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  1. Steve Maciel on February 21, 2024 at 6:29 pm


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