In Your Neighborhood

Woonsocket plans to purchase Dignity Bus for $150,000

Outcome serves as an endorsement of the hard work by the Community Care Alliance

Photo courtesy of I Am The Source

The Dignity Bus under construction in Vero Beach, Florida.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 5/22/23
The City of Woonsocket plans to purchase the Dignity Bus for $150,000 at a special meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, May 23.
Are there other cities and towns in Rhode Island that would consider purchasing a Dignity Bus for the un-housed members of their communities? Does the R.I. Department of Administration need to change the way it negotiates contracts? What is the status of the communications contract that the McKee administration has with Duffy & Shanley?
There is a dire need to rethink what constitutes small businesses in Rhode Island to include nonprofit community agencies and to recognize that they are the backbone of the state’s future prosperity. To do so requires a change in attitude by the McKee administration and how it makes investments in future behavioral health infrastructure. The highest priority should be increasing Medicaid rates for health providers, which is in the hands of the General Assembly.

WOONSOCKET – You will probably be reading about this strange twist of fate regarding the future of Dignity Bus here first in ConvergenceRI – and not in The Boston Globe, not in The Providence Journal, not on WPRO, not on Channel 10, and not on The Public’s Radio.

The City Council of Woonsocket is scheduled to vote at a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 23, beginning at 6 p.m., under a “new business” item on the agenda, 23.R.61, “authorizing the City of Woonsocket to enter into a contract with The Source for the purchase and delivery of a Dignity Bus,” for the price tag of $150,000.

For the record, the initial story about the Dignity Bus was first reported on Monday, May 8, in ConvergenceRI. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Promises, promises.”]

Subsequently, ConvergenceRI published a story on Monday morning, May 15, entitled: “The Dignity Bus may not be stopping in Woonsocket,” which included an interview with the director of the nonprofit ministry, “I Am The Source.”

That story was then updated on Monday evening, May 15, following new information that the City Council of Woonsocket was potentially interested in purchasing the retrofitted RV.

“The Woonsocket City Council and administration are to be commended for working with local nonprofits to address the un-housed crisis that is occurring across Rhode Island,” said Benedict F. Lessing, Jr. MSW, President/CEO of the Community Care Alliance.

“Few local elected officials have stepped in and stepped up in the same manner by assisting to secure desperately needed shelter resources, such as the Dignity Bus,” Lessing continued. “If this purchase occurs, the City will have done in a handful of weeks what the state of Rhode Island was unable to do over a period of nearly six months.”

Lessing urged other communities to step up to the plate. “More municipalities across the state need to follow suit,” Lessing said. “The reality is that the crisis is not abating, and it is getting worse for individuals as well as families with children. This is a step forward.”

Editor's Note: By a vote of 7-0, the Woonsocket City Council passed the resolution to purchase the Dignity Bus for $150,000 at its May 23 special meeting.

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