PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Crossroads Rhode Island, the leading provider of housing and services to the homeless in Rhode Island, today announced plans to redevelop its iconic Travelers Aid Housing—often called the “Tower”—at 160 Broad Street in Providence. The Tower, which is comprised primarily of single room occupancy apartments with shared bathrooms, currently provides long-term, permanent supportive housing for 176 formerly homeless men and women.
“As an agency, we pride ourselves on developing housing that is beautiful, safe, respectful and affordable for people who have experienced homelessness,” said Karen Santilli, President and CEO of Crossroads. “The Tower has helped hundreds of people overcome homelessness over the years, but was built generations ago as a YMCA. This redevelopment will allow us to provide permanent housing that is more specifically designed to support our residents’ long-term success.”
According to Santilli, after the low income housing tax credits for the Tower expired in 2019, Crossroads decided to seek new financing to update the dated, dorm-like single occupancy rooms into one-bedroom apartments that will include private kitchens, bathrooms and living areas. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the local non-profit to put its redevelopment plans on hold last year.
“Keeping 176 formerly homeless, high needs men and women safe in congregate living has been challenging,” said Santilli, “but now that the vaccine is available, we are hopeful about the future. We’re excited about the prospect of being able to offer our residents housing that is more functional, more respectful and much safer too.”
Crossroads first took over ownership and management of the nine-story Travelers Aid Housing building in 2002. The agency is still working out the details, but is hoping to secure financing this year to complete the ambitious renovations by 2024. A number of funding sources, including state and federal, as well as traditional mortgage financing, are currently being evaluated.
In order to provide clients with access to continuous housing and avoid unnecessary disruption, the Tower renovations are expected to occur in phases. Throughout the redevelopment, Crossroads’ social services team will also continue to provide onsite supportive services for those who need ongoing assistance due to mental illness, chronic health conditions or histories of trauma. The services vary depending upon the individual, but may include ongoing case management, basic needs assistance and education and employment services.