PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s taken two years, but the opening of the new Amos House in Providence is now a reality. After outgrowing their space on Friendship Street, and raising $6 million for a new, purpose-built building on Pine Street, the new digs had the ribbon cut Friday morning.
The nonprofit helps Rhode Islanders who are homeless or need to turn their lives around — fighting the temptation of drugs or alcohol — feeding and housing them.
At the ribbon cutting on the front steps, supporters heard from James Isom, an Amos House participant who said he’s been sober for the past two years thanks to Amos House’s help. “If anyone questions whether these programs work, I stand before you — as proof they do work,” he said.
His progress was so great that he was hired to help with construction of the new facility — for which ground was broken last December. It’s the least he could do, Isom said: “Amos House means the world to me, because — as they say — [it’s] helping people help themselves. I came here for help, but I had to help myself, and they offered everything I needed.”
The program’s CEO, Eileen Hayes, says the new Pine Street location took many years of hard work. “Many people said that we could not do it — that we could not possibly raise $5 million — for a soup kitchen on the south side of Providence.
“But guess what? We did it!”
The new place is 29,000 square feet, with a spacious dining hall for meals, classrooms, community rooms, and a training center. Half of the $6 million came from local businesses, foundations, and individual donors.
Sen. Jack Reed was among the local lawmakers praising the project, saying every community needs an organization like Amos House. “Individuals, volunteers, community leaders, activists who are committed to making sure that there is shelter.”
The group helps about 15,000 people every year, not just with food, but with job and literacy training among other social services.
“It’s an effort on both parts,” said Isom. “They can teach me. But it’s my job to do my part.”