55 unhoused Rhode Islanders to be relocated to Warwick motel, mayor says

Priority will be given to Cranston Armory residents

By: - May 10, 2023 6:26 pm

The Cranston Armory Warming Shelter in Providence is slated to close on May 15. That deadline has officials looking to move unhoused people to a Warwick Motel. (Photo by Kevin G. Andrade/Rhode Island Current)

WARWICK — Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi announced on Facebook Wednesday that state officials plan to send 55 unhoused Rhode Islanders to the Motel 6 at 20 Jefferson Blvd.

Picozzi said the city was initially informed last week and that priority would be given to those being moved out of the Cranston Armory Warming Shelter slated to close on May 15.

“Our concern is that our resources and manning are stretched thin already and more calls could lead to having additional personnel working on some shifts or days which would be very expensive for the city but necessary for public safety,” Picozzi said in the statement. 

“I requested a meeting with the Governor and we met yesterday along with police and fire. We showed him our data and shared our concerns. 

“I said that this could end up being very expensive for the city and he agreed and was very receptive to try to work out some type of reimbursement arrangement. He asked for some additional information which we are putting together and then we’ll meet again.”


“This Warwick site represents one of the steps the Housing Department and our partners are taking to address homelessness in Rhode Island,” Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor said in an emailed statement.

“We are grateful to OpenDoors RI for stepping up to help Rhode Islanders who would otherwise be unsheltered. We thank the City of Warwick for continuing to work with us constructively and thoughtfully.”

Pryor later added that there are currently around 100 sheltered at the armory and the Department of Housing will move them by Monday.

“We expect to share more updates as additional shelter capacity becomes available,” he said. “In addition, we are in close communication with the coordinated entry system, which continues to make referrals to shelters
with available beds.”

Picozzi said in his statement that calls for emergency services increased since the state moved 40 unhoused people in the same motel last fall. He added that the state contracted with Thrive Behavioral Health to administer programming for the 40 already at the site. 

Warwick Police said they had been called to the site 336 times since Sept. 1.

Picozzi added that the state contracted with OpenDoors RI to administer the program for the 55 additional unhoused moving into the facility.

Picozzi added that Gov. Dan McKee “was very receptive” to a reimbursement arrangement for costs to the city.

“I will keep you all informed of any new developments,” Picozzi concluded.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Kevin G. Andrade
Kevin G. Andrade

Kevin G. Andrade previously covered education, housing and human services for Rhode Island Current.