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The former Warwick Family Shelter has been transformed into modern, family apartments, providing an example of how underutilized properties can be used for housing.
March 02, 2023
WARWICK, R.I.— Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s leading provider of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness, celebrated the completed renovation of the Beach Avenue Apartments today. The ribbon-cutting ceremony in Warwick comes just over a year after Crossroads hosted a wall-breaking ceremony. The now-completed renovation transformed former shelter space into four beautiful new apartments for families experiencing homelessness, demonstrating how underutilized properties can be turned into permanent housing for individuals and families in need.
“We know that housing is the only solution for homelessness and we will stay laser-focused on the work needed to create and develop more housing for as long as we need to. The opening of the Beach Avenue Apartments will provide families with the security and safety of a permanent home,” said Karen Santilli, CEO, Crossroads Rhode Island. “Rhode Island’s housing crisis requires big thinking and courageous leadership, and it was big thinking and courageous leadership that gave us this opportunity to transform former shelter space into permanent housing for families experiencing homelessness.”
“This project spotlights Crossroads’ unwavering focus, through a global pandemic and in the face of a homelessness crisis we haven’t experienced in years, on building the structures, relationships, and programs to ensure our neighbors can live safely in a respectable home,” said Julie Duffy, Board Chair, Crossroads RI. “I am proud of the tireless efforts of the Crossroads team and recognize that this project would not be possible without support from our partners in state and local government and across the housing community. As we cut the ribbon and hand the keys to our new tenants, we show Rhode Island what effective housing partnerships look like.”
The four new Beach Avenue Apartments include two (2) three-bedroom apartments; one (1) two-bedroom apartment; and one (1) accessible one-bedroom apartment. The addition of these four apartments brings the total number of units at the Beach Avenue Apartment building to 11. The renovation of the Beach Avenue property began in 2018, shortly after Crossroads took ownership of the Warwick Family Shelter. The renovation was supported by several public and philanthropic funding sources, including:
$1.5M in Building Homes Rhode Island bond funds managed through Rhode Island Housing;
$98,802 in Community Development Block Grants awarded through the City of Warwick; and
$200,000 from the Bezos Day One Families Fund.
“Everyone needs and deserves safe, stable housing. It’s the foundation for success in every aspect of life, including people’s health and wellbeing,” said Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “Rhode Island is experiencing a housing crisis and a homelessness crisis. We need housing at all price points, but people at risk of homelessness are especially impacted by our housing shortage. I thank Crossroads for its exceptional work in combating homelessness, and I am very excited to welcome the new residents of the Beach Avenue Apartments to my hometown of Warwick.”
“The Beach Avenue Apartment project is a huge step in ending homelessness not only in our great city of Warwick, but in the state of Rhode Island. Much more work needs to be done, and I hope this project will attract more investment for affordable housing in our city. I want to personally welcome these families to their new homes,” said Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi.
“Completing the Beach Avenue Apartments is a small step toward our goal of ending homelessness, and a life-changing event for the families who will live here. It’s critical that we use the completion of this project as a motivator to turn more underused properties into housing throughout Rhode Island,” said Michelle Wilcox, President, Crossroads Rhode Island. “Our team worked tirelessly to complete this project and we are incredibly thankful to our partners at Pariseault Builders and Branch Architects who helped transform this property.”
“Permanent housing that includes supportive services is an important way to address homelessness. We need to create more developments like Beach Avenue Apartments in our state,” said Secretary of Housing Stefan Pryor. “We applaud Crossroads for getting this development done, and we are grateful to Governor McKee, General Assembly leaders, and Rhode Island voters for proposing and passing the housing bond measure that provided the resources for this purpose.”
“The Beach Avenue Apartments are a great example of how permanent housing provides much needed stability and essential services to our state’s most vulnerable residents. We must explore and secure resources to buy, renovate and build more developments like this,” said RIHousing Executive Director Carol Ventura. “RIHousing is proud to support this project and we look forward to continue working with state leaders and community organizations to support Rhode Islanders in desperate need of affordable housing.”
“The new Beach Avenue Apartments allow me to live comfortably and safely surrounded by my family,” said Beach Avenue Apartment resident Michelle Lee. “I am grateful to Crossroads and hope people will continue investing in life-changing projects like this.”
Last year, Crossroads provided housing and housing-related services to more than 4,000 men, women and children. Of those, more than 1,100 people accessed emergency shelter, 1,184 secured a new place to call home and an additional 1,099 maintained their housing.
Pariseault Builders, Inc. of Cranston served as the general contractor for the Beach Avenue Apartment renovation. Virginia Branch of Branch Architects in Providence served as the architect for the project.