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Shelter to Housing – Crossroads RI kicks off family housing renovation project

State’s leading provider of housing and services for Rhode Islanders experiencing homeless to transform former Rhode Island Family Shelter into apartments

February 24, 2022

WARWICK, RI - Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s leading provider of housing and services for Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness, officially kicked off renovation of the former Rhode Island Family Shelter. When complete, the former shelter will provide families with stable, affordable, and permanent housing. The Beach Avenue Apartments are part of Crossroads’ housing-first model and provide an example for how the state can leverage bonds, grants and other funding streams to accelerate construction of low- and moderate-income housing.

“Housing is the only proven solution for homelessness,” said Crossroads Rhode Island CEO Karen Santilli. “The Beach Avenue Apartments will provide more opportunities for Rhode Island families to find a permanent place to call home. This redevelopment has been made possible because of close partnerships with the City of Warwick and Rhode Island Housing, and I hope it will serve as a model for how to invest in and repurpose underutilized properties to create more housing for low-income families.”

The former family shelter was closed several years ago after Crossroads successfully transitioned all 10 families living at the shelter into safe and permanent housing. The facility has been empty since the families found homes and Crossroads has led an effort to convert the facility into apartments. This creative collaboration with the City of Warwick and Rhode Island Housing can provide a model best practice for how municipalities can repurpose underutilized facilities to accelerate the construction of housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

“Rhode Island’s housing crisis is without question one of the most serious challenges we face. This project demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together to find innovative solutions to the issues confronting our communities,” said Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, District 16. “I’m deeply grateful to Crossroads, Rhode Island Housing, and the City of Warwick for their efforts to transform this shelter into a model of what’s possible across our state. The Senate remains committed to building on the historic progress of the past year and partnering with all stakeholders to realize our common goal – ensuring all Rhode Islanders have a stable, safe, and affordable place to call home.”

“These new renovations are a huge step forward in the fight against homelessness in the City of Warwick. It will create new, affordable housing, to add to the existing units at the facility,” said Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi.

Last year, Crossroads Rhode Island helped more than 900 Rhode Islanders secure a new home and helped nearly 1,200 others - including nearly 500 children - maintain their housing.

The Beach Avenue Apartments are supported by several public and philanthropic funding sources, including $1.5 million in Building Homes Rhode Island bond funds managed through Rhode Island Housing and $36,000 in Community Development Block Grants awarded through the City of Warwick.

“This wall-breaking is an important reminder of what can be accomplished through partnership. This kick off represents so much more than a single new development, it represents a clear recognition that housing is the solution to end homelessness,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “RIHousing is proud to support developments like the Beach Avenue Apartments renovation because we believe that our families and our state are strengthened when every Rhode Islander has safe and affordable access to housing.”

“I know personally how life-changing a new home can be. I sought shelter for myself and my children because of an abusive relationship. The shelter kept us safe, but it’s no way to raise kids. Since we found an apartment at Kingstown Crossings, I have been able to finish my degree and earn my CNA. My kids are enrolled in public schools and thriving,” said Masedi Beckie Bome, a Crossroads Rhode Island resident living at Kingstown Crossings. “There are many other families in Rhode Island like mine who will benefit from these apartments just as we have benefited from the security and stability we have found in North Kingstown.”

“Every Rhode Islander deserves a safe home. For years, the Rhode Island Family Shelter was a safe place for families and children in crisis and it’s fitting that this facility will be reimagined as a model apartment complex that provides families with stability,” said Michelle Wilcox, President of Crossroads Rhode Island.

Construction will begin immediately and is scheduled to be complete this fall. The contractor for the project is Pariseault Builders, Inc. of Cranston. Virginia Branch of Branch Architects in Providence served as the architect for the project.

Watch the full press conference here!

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