PROVIDENCE – Community Care Alliance of Woonsocket has received a grant from the state for $441,143 to transition a Providence shelter to focus on providing care for unhoused LGBTQ+ folks.

The shelter will be located 292 Elmwood Ave., a building that has been previously used for helping those with serious health issues and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues, said Michelle Taylor, vice president of social health services at CCA.

“Since the pandemic began, the shelter no longer attracts the population we’re looking to serve, and we want to make sure the space is put to good use to provide care for people. Especially the LGBTQ population, which very often sees discrimination and is vulnerable to abuse in more traditional shelters,” Taylor said.

On May 26, Gov. Dan McKee announced in a press release that CCA would be one of six organizations receiving grants across the state to combat homelessness, totaling close to $1.5 million. This funding comes from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars and the state’s Consolidated Homelessness Fund, which has dedicated $17 million to fighting homelessness and housing insecurity in the state. The six projects awarded are just the first round of funding.

“Addressing the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and identifying affordable, permanent housing solutions for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable citizens has been a top priority of my administration from day one. I commend today’s grant recipients for addressing the complex needs of this population through thoughtful yet practical strategies,” McKee said in a press release.

Taylor said that the funding should become available on July 1, but that when working with the state, it can take months to complete final contracts and purchase orders.

The shelter, which will be operated by CCA, will house 12 people at a time when it’s fully operational.

“It’s hard to say how many people we’ll rotate through that, probably 40 to 50 annually. It could be more than that if we’re able to move people into housing more quickly than we have been during the pandemic,” Taylor said. She added that it’s been challenging to find affordable housing for those in need, saying that it’s “far below the need at this time.”

“We have been providing services for the Woonsocket Shelter for years, we recently started the motel voucher program in five areas, and we also do the winter shelter. Our staff are skilled at working with this population,” Taylor said.

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