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PROVIDENCE – City officials are negotiating with the Occupy Providence movement over the opening of a day center for the homeless that the protesters have demanded as a condition of leaving Burnside Park, where they have been encamped for three months, The Associated Press reported last week.
According to the report, the two sides are discussing the Emmanuel House, located in South Providence. The site is currently home to an emergency winter shelter run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.
In December, Occupy Providence narrowly approved a proposal to leave the park if the city opened a daytime facility to serve the homeless population. The AP said that many details concerning the opening of a center are still being worked out, including the amount of public funding, where private funding would come from and who would staff it. Occupy Providence had initially suggested that it be run on a largely volunteer basis.
Both Mayor Angel Taveras’ office, Occupy Providence leaders and the diocese had no immediate comment for the AP.
Jim Ryczek, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, told the AP that he had approached the diocese about using Emmanuel House as a possible location for the day center and officials were interested in pursuing the idea. He estimates it would cost about $10,000 a month to operate a day center at the most basic level. •