RIHousing Funding Approvals Revitalize Blighted and Vacant Properties
$4.7 million in Acquisition and Revitalization Program funding to create homes, community space
PROVIDENCE, RI – RIHousing’s Board of Commissioners approved funding awards totaling approximately $4.7 million to revitalize neighborhoods in Pawtucket and Providence. The awards will fund 92 homes and five new public facilities with 110,222 square feet of new commercial space. The funding is allocated via the state Acquisition and Revitalization Program (“ARP”).
“Creating homes, spurring economic growth and supporting jobs are three of the outcomes of these funding awards,” said Carol Ventura, Interim Executive Director at RIHousing. “But they will also help to support our communities and non-profit partners, provide opportunities for families and local businesses to thrive and positively impact neighborhoods in our urban core.”
On November 8, 2016, Rhode Island voters passed a state bond referendum authorizing the issuance of a $50 million Housing Opportunity Bond, $10 million of which was earmarked for Urban Revitalization and Blight Remediation. Voters authorized the state, through the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (“Commerce RI”), to use these funds to develop and implement a program for the improvement of properties that are blighted or in need of revitalization. That program is known formally as the Acquisition and Revitalization Program (“ARP”). RIHousing was tasked by Commerce RI to administer the ARP.
The ARP’s purpose is to stabilize neighborhoods and communities by strategically targeting foreclosed and/or blighted properties and vacant lots in need of redevelopment. ARP funding is available statewide, but 75% of the funding is set aside for urban communities. The income of households that will occupy the redeveloped properties is limited to 120% of Area Median Income ($69,200 for a two-person household). In addition, ARP prioritizes the redevelopment of properties located in low- and moderate-income census tracts.
The developments awarded funding are:
- Althea Revitalization Project, Providence, sponsored by Children’s Friend, will renovate the old Asa Messer Annex public school building in Providence’s West End neighborhood to house a full day/full year Head Start program.
- 404 Broad Street, Providence, Southside Community Land Trust (“SCLT”) will renovate a blighted property in the Trinity Square neighborhood of South Providence to allow for the expansion of SCLT’s Youth Employment and Youth Education programs.
- 134 Collaborative/Mathewson Street Church, Providence, 134 Collaborative will rehabilitate the Mathewson Street Church building to preserve and expand its current social service and community arts functions.
- Farm Fresh RI Food Hub, Providence, Farm Fresh Rhode Island will revitalize a 3.2-acre former brownfield site in Olneyville to serve as a year-round farmer’s market, space for food-related businesses and to accommodate expanded program needs and growth.
- The Composition, Providence, SWAP, Inc. will create eight (8) new and preserve 76 affordable apartments in South Providence. The development also includes a commercial and community space.
- Roger Williams Park Broad Street Gateway, the City of Providence and the Providence Redevelopment Agency will redevelop three (3) existing vacant lots along Broad Street adjacent to Roger Williams Park to create a multi-purpose welcome center.
- 390 Pine Street, LLC, Pawtucket, Shri Studio Inc. and the Pawtucket Central Falls Development will rehabilitate an historic mill with commercial use and apartments.
These awards represent the third round of ARP funding, building upon previous rounds from November 2017 ($3.79 million) and November 2018 ($1.62 million).
RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. RIHousing provides 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. For more information regarding RIHousing, visit www.RIHousing.com or follow us @RIHousing on Facebook and Twitter.