CRANSTON, R.I. —
Jean Johnson runs House of Hope CDC, which operates a homeless shelter in Cranston that originally opened on an emergency basis for one winter season. That was seven years ago.
“It’s not nice. There’s no place for men to store things,” Johnson said.
State Sen. John Tassoni, D-Smithfield, described it more colorfully.
“The Smithfield dog pound is better than Harrington Hall,” Tassoni said.
There’s a solution. Not 100 yards away is the Gloria MacDonald House, once a women’s prison. It sitsempty, and House of Hope is eager to move the homeless shelter over there.
“It has lots of meeting space. It has rooms not cells … So, you could have three or four men in a room, instead of having a hundred men in a room,” Johnson said.
More services mean more chance for some of the clients to get their own homes. It makes sense, and the delay baffles Tassoni.
“It’s bizarre. It’s crazy. It’s taken too long. I’m sick of it. No one up at the State House or Capitol Hill has any relatives over there, and if they did we’d be working much faster than we are now,” Tassoni said.
NBC 10 checked with the state Department of Administration and were referred to the governor’s office of communications.
We learned from our visits that the building needs to be transferred from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Administration, which is on the agenda for the state planning meeting next month. The transfer could take place then.