A black and white photo of an ornate building.

Homeless in RI: Cranston Street Armory to open “after December 7”. Status today.

This morning it is 52 degrees in Providence – it will rain throughout the dayit is December 7th.

When the Cranston Street Armory was proposed to be activated as an emergency shelter in response to the state’s growing homeless crisis, on November 30th, the Governor’s office began the process of seeking approval from the various groups necessary to open the doors “starting after December 7” for a maximum of 50 people to be located in the “ballroom” room. Portable toilets and shower facilities need to be brought in. Cooking will not be allowed.

On December 6th, the DBR Fire Board considered the request and made the following decision:

“DCAMM (Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance) was given a variance allowing the use of the CSA as a temporary emergency shelter exceeding the cap of 16 occupants, to a yet-to-be determined number not to exceed 100 occupants.  Per their plan of action, the use is for the period ending in April 2023.

They were also given a varying timeline variance to correct the 39 violations found by the State Fire Marshal, ranging from 30 days to 6 months.

Additionally, 4 of the 39 must be corrected prior to occupying the facility as a shelter. Accordingly, the key to the front door is in DCAMM’s hands.”


We have requested the next steps from the Governor’s office.

An interview about the homeless situation circulated in social media with the Governor when he was at a Quonset event. He noted that it is important, though he didn’t know why, to not refer to the Cranston Street Armory as a warming shelter, but as a warming station. (Video: The Coalition Radio)


Several reports have noted the deteriorating conditions at the RI State House homeless encampment, with trash and needles being strewn around the location and over the wall of the tent area, including human waste and toilet paper. State employees have noted to NBC10 that they have to be cautious coming into work at the employee’s entrance, which is below the wall area.


Yesterday, staff of the House of Hope arrived at the RI State House handing out pizza to the tenters.


Memorial Hospital is still in repair – the Governor noted they lost approximately 160 beds there that had to be located elsewhere, including motels in Warwick – until the building is repaired from its water leak problem.


The Diocese of Providence is noting their programs in support of those in need of housing, heating assistance, etc.


Statement from Governor McKee’s office afternoon of Nov. 30th on use of the Cranston Street Armory:

The vision for this project is to serve as a temporary, low-barrier option that will immediately provide a safe indoor space for some of the most vulnerable people in this population, regardless of shelter or housing availability on any given night. The State expects to begin operating it as soon as possible and keep it open through April 15. It is the result of a cross-agency partnership among the Governor’s Office, Department of Housing, Department of Administration, Department of Business Regulation, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and others. 

Today, the State is sending a letter of intent to providers to further engage them on wraparound services for the site. While the ultimate list of services and eligibility protocols will be finalized based on what comes out of those provider engagements and other pending operations approvals, we wanted to share information about the first stage of this process in the interest of transparency and public interest. 

Area to be used: yellow shaded Ballroom, only – approx. 4,000 sq. ft. out of the facility’s 190,000 square feet.


A homeless services provider loses its own home:


Update with Rev. Duane Clinker, on behalf of the homeless on the streets:

We encourage the leaving of comments, which will be moderated prior to publication:

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  1. Anthony Catuto on December 19, 2022 at 4:17 am

    I’ve been homeless now for five years.
    Living in my car for the last seven months.
    I’m seventy three years old s.d I have cases with.probablr causes with HUD against National Investments Federally Subsidized Apartment Scituate Vista and now a nr case against Meshanticut Vista!
    Still no progress or resolution!
    We are putting a bandaid on a disease I’m this state and this country!
    We have plenty of money but it goes everywhere and to anyone else!
    We don’t need anymore filthy dangerous shelters !
    We need adorable housing!
    We the poor disabled and the elderly are the most vulnerable people!
    Until our politicians start to pass legislation and laws to cap rents and build Federally Subsidized Housing!
    This cold our state and our country has!!
    Will turn into pneumonia!
    The disease of homelessness will become an epidemic!
    I never thought I would spend the last years of my life like this !
    A disgrace for our state and our country!

  2. Jessica Donnelly on December 7, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    From the article it appears they cannot call the CSA a warming shelter until 4 of the 39 violations found by the State Fire Marshal are corrected. They are calling it a warming station. I wonder why they can only use a small area of the CSA. I do hope we find shelter for all those in need and soon.

    • Nancy Thomas on December 7, 2022 at 9:51 pm

      Yes, 4 issues need to be fixed – but we don’t know what they are. Hopefully they are quick fixes and the facility will be opened expeditiously.

  3. Jessica Donnelly on December 7, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”