PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A shelter for homeless families is expanding so it can support five additional families.

Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown is an emergency and transitional shelter for homeless women and children and one of just four in the state that houses families.

The shelter was in a former convent, with space for 10 families, but a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Thursday for a new facility in town that can accommodate 15 families and has space for additional services.

It cost $4.4 million to purchase the new building and renovate it, according to Lucy’s Hearth.

Rhode Island has a wait list for families seeking shelter, and families can sometimes wait weeks to be placed.

The four shelters collectively have about 150 beds, but that doesn’t always mean they can accommodate 150 people, according to the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

Families generally have a room. An available bed may be in another family’s space.

There are typically at least 50 families on the wait list, said Lucious Murchison, who manages the list at United Way of Rhode Island.

“There’s just not enough affordable housing,” he said.

About 10 emergency shelters in Rhode Island serve more than 350 single adults, the coalition said.

VIAThe Associated Press
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