Crossroads Providence RI November, 2008

Homeless in RI: Crossroads expands as neighbor group claims “alarming safety concerns”

The South Providence Neighborhood Association (SPNA) assessed safety at the main headquarters of Crossroads Rhode Island, located at 160 Broad Street in Providence, between March 2022 and April 2023. Their headquarters has been located within South Providence since 2004.

SPNA and Crossroads’ management team have held two recent meetings to create a line of communication and open dialogue around the SPNA’s concerns.

The group said their assessment was conducted due to Crossroads’ low engagement and response to their concerns and that of the neighborhood regarding safety at 160 Broad Street and neighboring Crossroad sites.

“As the largest organization serving individuals experiencing homelessness and permanent supportive housing, amongst other things, we believe more should be done because between October 2021-October 2022 hundreds of our most vulnerable citizens in the care of Crossroads RI were put in dangerous situations and became victims of inadequate care.” – SPNA statement

SPNA Photo

From Providence Police & Fire records, SPNA says there have been:

● 498 police calls which on average occur multiple times a day which include assaults, overdoses, and escalated threats of physical violence.
● 550 ambulance calls which 485 were for life support. The volume of emergency calls and safety concerns is excessive, even in the context of emergency shelter work, street outreach, and social work.

The group questioned why the agency appears to be in constant crisis and only providing the bare minimum of health and safety standards, while being well-funded and staffed. Their board of directors also has leadership members from the Providence and Rhode Island communities.

The group cites a source who utilizes Crossroads services at 160 Broad Street: “They sell drugs and use it in front of my face. That’s the biggest trigger for me. Every time I go to use the bathroom they won’t let me in because they’re doing drugs. In regards to assaults occurring on site the person also stated, “The drug dealers get mad when a customer goes up to someone else. They fight and drink in the community room. It happens every night…”

Nearby neighbors say similar activity happens outside as they and their children try to walk by.

The group goes on to say that local leaders have ignored the problem, until Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris helped to bring Crossroads in front of the Nuisance Task Force in the summer of 2022 after a Crossroads resident was killed by a vehicle while sitting in the middle of the street, in front of their facility.

The group says that despite these serious issues, Crossroads has some good educational programs and well intentioned staff who do their best to provide care and supportive services, but has failed to provide basic safety in their housing facility.

The group goes on to make the claim that “there is no evidence that their educational programs have benefited the people experiencing homelessness who live or frequent the towers at 160 Broad St. The towers have instead become an avenue for a perpetual cycle of poverty and harm. Crossroads’ funding comes with the stipulation that it contribute to the advancement of fair housing. Housing is not fair or equitable if it is not at least safe for the people it is meant to serve”.

In 2021 Crossroads received $22 million dollars in revenue which consisted of:
● 54% provided by taxpayers through Federal, State and City funding
● 18% from individual and corporate donations
● 26% from various foundations
● 2% from earned income

SPNA offered recommendations for Crossroads to implement:

  1. Comprehensive Safety Plan: Funding to expand any operation in and around
    the Broad Street Towers where these safety concerns have been identified,
    should be linked to & made contingent upon Crossroads presenting a detailed
    plan that shows how they will provide a safe environment for the existing location
    and the proposed location which will address the major safety concerns
  2. Sufficient Resources: Funding to expand any operation in and around the
    Broad Street Towers where these safety concerns have been identified, should
    be linked to & made contingent upon Crossroads providing confirmation that
    there are sufficient resources to successfully implement the “safety plan”.
  3. Annual Safety Plan: Annually, Crossroads and all organizations providing
    housing and receiving State and/or Federal funds, should be required to report
    on key measures of safety, testify to the accuracy of the reports, and the public
    should be given the opportunity to provide testimony. Failing to submit and/or
    meet reasonable standards as set forth by the HUD CoC and RI CoC may
    jeopardize future funding or result in reallocation of existing funding as is within
    the authority of the RI CoC.
  4. RI CoC Oversight: The RI CoC and an external independent review board
    should provide oversight of ensuring safe environments for all organizations that
    provide housing and are funded through State and/or Federal funds. They should
    also adopt as a condition of approving funding for organizations that there be an
    assessment of safety concerns, and for organizations where major concerns
    have been identified such as with the Broad Street area locations of Crossroads,
    there should be monthly assessments of the environment until it is deemed to be
    satisfactory. This may best be accomplished through the creation of a
    standing committee of the RI COC on resident safety. (Currently there is not
    an existing independent body that monitors personal safety within shelters and
    permanent supportive housing agencies or people experiencing homelessness in
    Rhode Island.)
  5. RI Housing Oversight: Rhode Island Housing, who largely funds what is
    happening there, must also require that all Crossroads housing meets, or has a
    defined plan with built in accountability metrics, to meet an objective standard of
    safe housing as a condition of any expansion.
    The South Providence Neighborhood Association (SPNA) was formed in 2017 as an
    organization to bring members of both the Upper & Lower South Providence community
    together in a way that organizes, informs and empowers the local residents, local
    businesses and organizations while facilitating in the area meaningful & long-term

Crossroads responds

Mike Raia, of Half Street Group, is the spokesperson for Crossroads. He responded to our request by first providing information on the approval for their new development at 371 Pine street:

The safety of all our residents and neighbors is a top priority for Crossroads. That commitment was validated last night when the Providence City Plan Commission voted unanimously to approve our Pine Street development. During the hearing, multiple members of the community spoke in favor of both Crossroads and the project.  No one spoke in opposition. Community support and trust is essential if Rhode Island is going to successfully end a decades-long housing crisis, so Crossroads worked in good faith to engage our neighbors and provide full transparency around this project and all our work. 

Raia also notes that only a day ago the plan for Crossroads to build out 371 Pine Street permanent apartments was unanimously approved. Here is a description of that project:

Crossroads Rhode Island Pine Street Development

371 Pine Street will be the state’s first permanent support apartments created specifically for medically vulnerable adults experiencing homelessness

Crossroads received unanimous approval from the Providence City Plan Commission at [last] night’s meeting for its 371 Pine Street development. The approval came just a month after Crossroads submitted the development plans to the CPC. 371 Pine Street development will create Rhode Island’s first-of-its-kind permanent supportive apartment complex for medically vulnerable adults experiencing homelessness. In all, Crossroads will create 35 new apartments.

The Pine Street is “for the most vulnerable people in our state with a home and the support they need to address their medical needs,” said Crossroads Rhode Island CEO Karen Santilli.

The development includes amenities like laundry facilities, common areas, a healing garden, and parking. The building will feature 2,500 square feet of office space on the first floor for lease to mental health or other providers interested in providing co-located services. Keeping in line with the evidence-based practices, residents will have access to 24/7 case management services and other wraparound supports.

Crossroads plans to begin site work at Pine Street later this year and anticipates completion in early 2025. The project is the kind of shovel-ready development that would benefit from investments that McKee Administration proposed earlier this month. The Governor’s $29 million budget amendment includes the creation of a low income housing tax credit fund and direct support for projects like Pine Street that are site ready.

The Pine Street development is one of several significant housing developments Crossroads is leading or partnering on. 

  • Earlier this year, Crossroads completed renovation of the Beach Avenue Apartments in Warwick, which transformed the former Warwick Family Shelter into four permanent supportive apartments for families experiencing homelessness. 
  • In April, Crossroads partnered with three other local nonprofits – ONE Neighborhood Builders, Foster Forward, and Family Service Rhode Island – to launch the Taunton Avenue Collaborative, an innovative and ambitious development that will create 160 apartments in East Providence, including, 40 percent of which will be set aside for extremely low-income individuals and families.
  • Last year, Crossroads’ plans to build a new apartment building on Summer Street in Providence were also approved. The project will create 176 new permanent supportive apartments which will allow current residents of Crossroads’ single-occupancy units at 160 Broad Street into one-bedroom apartments, each with its own bathroom and kitchen. 

Crossroads response to SPNA accusations:

To get back to the accusations of unsafe situations happening at the main Crossroads facility, Raid said,
“We don’t have anything else to add. We responded in good faith to the activists who issued the “report” with detailed responses to their questions which are not reflected in their “report”. The unanimous approval of the Pine Street project and supportive comments from the community are validation of our connections and engagement with the community. We’re not commenting further on a report that misrepresents Crossroads’ work.”


For more details on the 371 Pine Street Project visit

For questions or concerns regarding this impact and safety assessment please feel free to contact Surana George of SPNA via email:

To learn more about Crossroads:


  1. LM on May 19, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    I agree with Ms. Denny. The motor home was built to RI’s specs. The builder should have been paid and the ‘home’ brought to RI for any inspection since Fla. doesn’t require inspections or a 2nd license plate. The motor home was ready for delivery until RI (once again) did an about-face. The motor home has been delivered to another state. The people who would have benefitted are, once again, left out in the cold, thanks to those who choose to ignore what is before their eyes. Heaven forbid that it gets parked in Cumberland or the East Side!!
    Nothing in RI ever works – it’s one step forward and 10 steps back. The homeless issue should have been resolved before the winter of 2022 but promises made are promises not kept. The Armory was never a ‘warming center’, it was a shelter. There are buildings throughout the State that have been empty for a short period of time. The State needs to look at those, not old, empty mills that need a complete overhaul and takes years to rebuild. There are 6 months until November. Buy a building, hire a crew to go in, set up partitions, make sure the plumbing works, that it meets fire codes, and put some beds in. They need small lockers since they do have personal possessions. These people don’t care if it’s freshly painted – they want a place to sleep, need shelter, and a roof over their heads. They already know where any services exist so putting services in is moot.
    I can only imagine how frustrating this is.

  2. Pamela Denny on May 18, 2023 at 10:46 am

    So the governor is going to let some of that 22 million dollars he has been sitting on, and no doubt stuffing his and his cronies pockets? What happened to the? Motor Home? that he contracted the state of FLORIDA to build? They built it to his specifications and then he turned around and refused to pay for it. FL will sell it to another state. Meanwhile the homeless people that it was meant to house are still sitting on sidewalks and anywhere else they can put their tents good job governor. I wonder where the 160,000 for that project went because of State of Florida didn’t get it I don’t trust anything this Governor says he is going to do for the homeless because he does not care. He just wishes they would go away but it doesn’t work like that in the real world.

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