Nonprofits Ask State Budget for $28 Million for 160 Apartments in East Providence

A NON-COMMERCIAL GROUP known as the Taunton Avenue Collaborative recently asked members of the General Assembly to allocate $28 million in next fiscal year’s budget for affordable housing on Taunton Avenue in East Providence. Group leaders, from left, ONE Neighborhood Builders Director Jennifer Hawkins, Foster Forward Executive Director Lisa Gillette, Crossroads Rhode Island Executive Director Karen Santilli and Rhode Island Family Service Chief Operating Officer Ben Weiner recently toured the proposed development site at 350 Taunton Ave. / THE BUILDERS OF ONE DISTRICT OF ARMENIA

EAST PROVIDENCE – A group of four nonprofits called the Taunton Avenue Collaborative recently asked the General Assembly for $28 million in state funding to help develop affordable housing on Taunton Avenue in East Providence.

Leaders of the group, which includes ONE Neighborhood Builders, Crossroads Rhode Island, Foster Forward and Family Service of Rhode Island, have asked state lawmakers for funding to expedite construction of 160 units of affordable housing and commercial space at 330 Taunton Ave. , 350 Taunton Ave. and 354 Taunton Ave.

The commonwealth said earlier this year that it had secured $7.1 million to build the housing development, but additional funding is needed to complete the project with the goal of opening the new apartments by the summer of 2025.

The request for $28 million in funding for the 2024 fiscal year budget comes after ONE Neighborhood Builders announced in April that it had once purchased the 2.95 acres that make up the Taunton Avenue property, including a bedroom, four-story, 63,000 square foot residential building once. known as Edmund Place, built in 1975.

The proposed redevelopment is designed to provide housing to “extremely low-income households,” according to ONE Neighborhood Builders, as well as youth out of foster care and some low- and moderate-income households. The development will also include 6,000 square feet of commercial space, which will be used in part for a new “early learning center,” the nonprofit said, along with 1,500 square feet of community amenity space and playgrounds.

Principals of the partnership, including ONE Neighborhood Builders President Jennifer Hawkins, Crossroads Executive Director Karen Santilli, Foster Forward Executive Director Lisa Gillett and Rhode Island Family Service Executive Director Margaret Holland McDuff, released a statement describing the proposal. as “we our best example. can build housing on a meaningful scale” while rebuilding blighted properties in Rhode Island.

“For too long, Rhode Island has been dead set on starting a new home in the country,” the nonprofit leaders said in a joint statement. “As homelessness increases and families are pushed out of the housing market, it is now more important than ever that we work together, combining our shared commitment to housing justice and lending our unique skills to this transformative housing development.”

If the project moves forward, approximately 40% of the units will be designed as permanent supportive housing, which combines housing with case management and support services for extremely low-income residents, the co-op said. Of the 160 apartments, 25 will be provided by Crossroads, which will “provide ongoing support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” while Foster Forward will support 20 units occupied by people who have recently exited foster care. Another 20 units will go to Rhode Island Family Services, which will employ families who have been involved with the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The remaining 60% of the housing will be designated as affordable for low- and moderate-income households, meaning 60% to 120% of the area median income, which is about $45,000 to $90,000 for a family of two.

According to ONE Neighborhood Builders, the project has already secured a $2 million congressional development grant, as well as $1 million from the RI Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. to acquire the land. In addition, the partnership secured $154,000 from the City of East Providence for land acquisition, and $135,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation for acquisition deposits and initial development.

Marc Larocque is a PBN author.

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