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Partners Celebrate Homes with On-site Support Services for Residents

Published on April 6, 2018 by Rhode Island Housing
Partners Celebrate Homes with On-site Support Services for Residents

Ribbon cutting marks opening of 51 rehabilitated apartments at Dean Street Studios in Providence

Providence, RI – RIHousing, Women’s Development Corporation (WDC) and the Kent Center for Human and Organizational Development were joined by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Mayor Jorge Elorza at a ribbon cutting for the redevelopment of Dean Street Studios today. Using funds from the state’s 2012 Building Homes Rhode Island bond, as well as other federal and state resources, the 51-unit development will provide supportive housing for disabled and formerly homeless individuals as well as clinical offices for the Kent Center.

“This project is special because it will provide on-site services and more affordable housing options for our most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “With our partners, we are creating affordable housing options and helping those who need it most.”

“Dean Street Studios represents a great achievement made possible by the successful partnership of many parties,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “This development is a great example of how we can leverage investment in housing to attract additional private funding and reach more Rhode Islanders. Working with our partners, we have opened 51 new apartments for some of our most vulnerable residents, put Rhode Islanders to work in good-paying construction jobs, and contributed to the revitalization of the Providence community.”

WDC leveraged state bond financing and Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to generate private investment from Red Stone Equity Partners and grant funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston in support of the redevelopment. Housing Opportunities Corporation, WDC’s management entity, will operate and maintain the property.

“We are honored to stand with our partners and celebrate the creation of this new community for some of our most at-risk Rhode Islanders,” said WDC Executive Director James Comer. “The difficulties our residents have overcome to be here have been great, and we are proud to provide them with high quality housing and comprehensive services as they continue their journey.  Dean Street Studios is a wonderful example of collaboration between housing and service providers fueled by public and private investment and supported by state and local government.   I hope this development can serve as a template for how a community can transform a troubled property into a force for positive change.”

As part of the redevelopment plans for the four-story building (previously known as Advent Apartments), the Kent Center relocated its Housing First RI offices to the building. Being on-site will allow the Kent Center to provide better services for residents and access to full-time support from Housing First RI’s staff of 21 nurses, doctors, and case managers. Housing First RI works to break the cycle of homelessness and is part of a national program model. It combines permanent supportive housing with a variety of wrap-around services, including psychiatric, substance abuse, medical, vocational and social, in a holistic approach.

The rehabilitation of Dean Street included structural repairs, roof replacement, HVAC improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, exterior repairs, upgrades to apartments and community space, and improvements to access control and security.

The total redevelopment cost for Dean Street Studios is $9 million. Financing sources included an RIHousing Loan, equity from the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and a grant from the Building Homes Rhode Island bond.

About RIHousing
RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live and work in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. RIHousing uses its resources to provide loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders find, rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, RIHousing is a self-sustaining corporation and receives no state funding for operations.

About Women’s Development Corporation
One of the largest nonprofit housing developers in Rhode Island, Women’s Development Corporation is an innovator in the design, development, construction and management of housing for low- to moderate-income families, the elderly and persons with special needs. WDC reclaims and restores historic buildings, constructs new, energy efficient housing and revitalizes neighborhoods with a combination of federal, state and private financing. WDC also provides rental and home ownership opportunities.