In a unanimous vote, with Councilwoman Vice Chair Valerie Gonzalez forced to recuse, the Woonsocket City Council approved a “pass through” grant to Woonsocket service provider Community Cares, funded by the State of Rhode Island, for funds dedicated to providing weather emergency shelter.



The Resolution was seemingly structured to address the Community Cares portion of the grant, excising participation by Council Vice Chair Gonzales’ VIDA Church


Resolution January 10 2024


The VIDA Church, in a process that is still unclear, both in implementation as well as approval process, was to have been an ‘Overflow Facility” for weather related emergency shelter. Despite horrific weather conditions, the VIDA Church failed to open this past weekend, even as the VIDA Church was touted on a press release issued by Governor Dan McKee and appearing in photo opps with Housing Czar Stefan Pryor. (At the Serenity Center)



Instead, at the height of the storm, the VIDA Church was locked, in an unplowed state (Front Steps & Parking Lot), absent of any signage directing potential evacuees to appropriate shelter.



We have repeatedly reached out to the Office of Secretary Pryor, for clarification, without response. This, after a lengthy conversation with Housing Staff about the nature of the program itself. As is so often the case in Rhode Island Government, the Coalition will be forced to pursue a lengthy APRA process in order to ascertain basic facts. In a similar manner, the Coalition has filed an APRA request to find out if in fact the VIDA Church was in compliance with local Fire Code, even as the Church was approved by Secretary Pryor’s Office.


Council Vice Chair reached out to Coalition Reporter Pat Ford with the following texts:



The Coalition is in the process of reaching out to Community Cares to confirm Council Vice Chair Gonzalez’ assertions.



Prior Reporting:




  1. Jeannette Houle says:

    I am a home owner in Woonsocket, along with many friends, and we do not want any of our tax dollars being used to fix the Vida Church ! We thank you for your support!

  2. Thank you for your reporting Pat! Over that weekend there was a near fatal overdose at the shelter the day after the Councilwoman arrived for her photo op. It was a young CCA staff that resuscitated the individual. The two volunteers from the church were not Naloxone trained and massively underqualified to be there. if that staff was not present the individual would have died. Very relieved that professional, certified healthcare staff will be handling this crisis, not a church and clearly for the Councilwoman’s personal interests.

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