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PROVIDENCE – Occupy Providence told The Associated Press last week that it has reached an agreement with city officials over the opening of a temporary homeless day center that will bring an end to a standoff over the group’s encampment of Burnside Park.
The protesters voted unanimously to dismantle their tents at Burnside Park as soon as a day center planned for Emmanuel House in South Providence opens.
In a statement, the group said the city would assist in “supporting the center” to cover staff for three months. Homeless advocates have estimated that it would cost about $10,000 a month to operate the day center, which would supplement existing shelter facilities.
The Emmanuel House, located in South Providence, 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
David Ortiz, a spokesman for Mayor Angel Taveras, didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment. A diocese spokesman, Michael Guilfoyle, couldn’t immediately be reached, the AP said.
Protesters have been encamped since Oct. 15 despite the city’s demand that they leave. City officials threatened legal action, then went into mediation with the group instead. •