Walker Farm Lane will provide 12 working families with a place to call home

Barrington, RI (Nov. 3, 2010) – The Town of Barrington, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC), the state Housing Resources Commission, and Rhode Island Housing, along with their community partners, broke ground on Walker Farm Lane this afternoon. This new development will feature 10 single-family homes and one two-family home when complete.

Located near the intersection of County Road and Eleanor Drive, just south of the East Bay Community Mental Health Center, the Town of Barrington purchased the 1.8 acre parcel of land specifically for the development of affordable homes. Rhode Island Housing provided a bridge loan to the Town so it could purchase the property. Barrington officials selected Providence-based West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation to develop the site, which included a farmhouse, barn and a former fire station. The site has since been cleared.

“Providing affordable housing in a nearly built-out community is a challenge,” said Peter DeAngelis, Barrington Town Manager. “Forming partnerships working towards this goal has proven to be effective and rewarding, as we break ground on the first town-sponsored development. We look forward to welcoming our new residents.”

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Spearheaded by the Barrington Housing Trust, Walker Farm Lane is the first town-sponsored effort to build homes that are affordable to working families in Barrington. The Housing Board of Trustees was created in response to the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, passed in 2004, which requires that 10 percent of the homes in all Rhode Island communities qualify as affordable. Barrington has been working hard to achieve that goal.

“The Barrington Housing Trust had three primary goals with this development. First, to design a project that would blend in seamlessly with the surrounding neighborhood and be a net plus esthetically, to provide sustainable, energy efficient designs with an eye toward long term affordability, and to finance the project by accessing all available State and Federal grants and subsidies. We are very pleased with the outcome,” said Steven Martin, Chairman of the Barrington Housing Trust.

“The homes at Walker Farm Lane will give the families who live here a place to call home, and add to this already thriving and vibrant community,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “More and more Rhode Islanders are starting to struggle with job loss or reduced income and it has become even more important to build homes that are safe, healthy and affordable to families.”

“This development is an example of how State housing funds can be leveraged by federal and other resources to provide much-needed affordable housing opportunities,” said Mike Tondra, Executive Director of the state Housing Resources Commission. “Not only will this endeavor provide affordable homes to working families, but it will also help sustain jobs in the construction industry.”

The properties will be sold to families earning up to 100 percent of the area median income – $72,100 for a family of four. West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation’s Home Ownership Center is working with four pre-qualified buyers and three more potential buyers, who are currently enrolled in homebuyer education classes.

“We are extremely excited to be able to help bring affordable homeownership opportunities to the Town of Barrington,” said Sharon Conard-Wells, Executive Director of WEHDC. “All of us at West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation are looking forward to the successful completion of the project next year.”

Several partners have come together to help finance this development and the funding sources include:

• Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI) funds – $715,000
• Community Development Block Grant funds – $574,077
• Rhode Island Housing HOME funds – $100,000
• NeighborWorks America pre-development funds – $27,500

The Spencer Trust provided pre-development funds that have since been paid back. Community Housing Capital also provided a revolving construction line of credit for this development. Construction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2011.