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A former Providence mayor plans to convert a building that once housed a hospital into a social service center that will provide housing to about 300 homeless people.

Joseph Paolino said Monday he has purchased and will develop the former St. Joseph's Hospital building on the city's south side. He says he's working with city-based KITE Architects on the project and intends to partner with the state's social service agencies.

It's unclear how much Paolino paid for the nine-story building.

Paolino's plans call for about 160 housing units. Architectural renderings include a space for job training, a group kitchen and a police substation.

Paolino says he wants to tackle homelessness in the city.

The Democrat served as the city's mayor from 1984 to 1990.

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