Ribbon cutting celebrates revitalization of Lower South Providence
Providence (Nov. 13, 2012) – U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline and Providence City Councilman Luis Aponte joined Carla DeStefano, Executive Director of SWAP, Rhode Island Housing and community partners for a celebratory ribbon cutting of a historic home rescued from foreclosure and now fully restored.
“Rehabbing foreclosed homes is a smart investment in strengthening our communities, putting more workers back to work, and bolstering the economy,” said U.S. Senator Reed, who authored the Project Rebuild Act which, if enacted, would provide $15 billion in targeted assistance to renovate distressed residential and commercial properties. “I congratulate SWAP, Rhode Island Housing and all their partners on restoring this historic home to increase affordable rental housing opportunities for families in Lower South Providence.”
“I am pleased to join Rhode Island Housing for this morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony. This new project is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize and strengthen South Providence and the hardworking families who live there,” said U.S. Representative Cicilline. “Every Rhode Islander should have access to quality, affordable housing and I will continue to support this important effort.”
Located at 64 Ocean St., the rehabilitated building will be home to two local families. It is part of SWAP’s comprehensive strategy of revitalizing Lower South Providence, which is called Around Public and Friendship (APF).
APF is 37 affordable rental homes scattered throughout the South Providence neighborhood. These new affordable homes will include 12 formerly vacant, abandoned houses, including the distressed industrial property known as the Earthen Vessel, located on Gordon Avenue.
“The revitalization of South Providence has successfully leveraged voter-approved bond funding with various other sources allowing for affordable homes to continue to play a key role in neighborhood revitalization,” said Michael Tondra, Chief/Executive Director, Office of Housing and Community Development/Housing Resources Commission (HRC). Rhode Island Housing Page 2
“APF would have experienced significant delays without the critical predevelopment funding that was provided by LISC. Building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities is what we are all about. LISC is pleased to be a partner in creating with SWAP homes Rhode Islanders can afford. These homes are a perfect example of investments in neighborhoods that work toward LISC’s vision of building sustainable communities, places of choice and opportunity, for all Rhode Islanders,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of R.I.’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation (RI LISC).
Other properties included in this large-scale rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization plan are on Pine, Burnside and Public streets as well as Prairie and Potters avenues.
“64 Ocean Street is the kind of house that SWAP is noted for rehabilitating. It is an example of the wonderful multi family architecture that is part of the history of the south side. We were very fortunate to have the NSP program funding available to be able to buy this home out of foreclosure and then make it part of a larger development of 37 units with multiple sources of funding,” said Carla DeStefano, executive director of SWAP. SWAP has committed 15 years of work and resources to building some new homes and preserving these architectural gems in this neighborhood for rental and for sale. David Presbrey Architects did a great job with every aspect of this preservation.”
“Partnerships like this one are integral to solving our state’s affordable housing crisis and economic downturn by putting Rhode Islanders back to work while creating vibrant communities with good homes, ” said Richard Godfrey, Rhode Island Housing’s Executive Director. “I commend SWAP, the City of Providence and their partners for such a wonderful KeepSpace approach to the creation of safe, healthy homes that are affordable to working Rhode Islanders near public transportation and key neighborhood businesses and services.”
Many federal, state and private funding sources played a role in the creation of these homes. They were: Neighborhood Stabilization Funds (NSP), Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, National Equity Fund/LISC, Federal Historic Tax Credits, City of Providence HOME, Building Homes Rhode Island, Lead Funds and Rhode Island Housing Mortgages.
“This development is a win win for the community because it has transformed foreclosed properties that blighted the neighborhood into high quality, long-term affordable homes,” said Nellie M. Gorbea, executive director of HousingWorks RI. “Further, these homes are a driver of local economic growth and their residents will contribute to the state’s economy.”