Construction to Begin on Homes for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities
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Construction to Begin on Homes for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities

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Warwick, RI – October 26, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — This morning, the House of Hope, Housing Resources Commission (HRC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), LISC, Corporation for Supportive Housing, the state Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals, and Rhode Island Housing broke ground on five new homes for Rhode Islanders with disabilities. Originally a Baptist meeting house established in 1744, the Thomas Wilbur Homestead will provide permanent homes with supportive services, such as case management, benefits assistance and life skills classes, while preserving the historic character of the property.

“Thanks to a great partnership among the City of Warwick and its non-profit partners, we are steadily increasing the number of homes that are affordable to the people who live and work here,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “The Thomas Wilbur Homestead adds wonderfully to these efforts. This project, together with others currently underway in the city, will mean the addition of over 30 affordable homes within the next several months. As always, we are pleased to support the House of Hope’s efforts and are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

“House of Hope strives to be a catalyst for change in Rhode Island by working closely with state agencies, advocacy groups, and community partners to provide options for affordable homes for those who are disabled and disadvantaged,” said Jean Johnson, Executive Director of House of Hope. “We are thrilled to be moving forward today with all of our partners by our side.”

Located at 3188 Post Road, the property already includes the meeting house, a carriage house, a barn and several smaller outbuildings. The meeting house is currently the home of the House of Hope’s administrative offices and headquarters. As work begins, the carriage house will be rehabilitated and converted into two single-bedroom apartments. A new building will also be constructed at the site that will consist of three two-bedroom apartments. Each of these apartments will incorporate universal design, and will focus on comfort, function and accommodating disabilities. The lower level apartments will be retrofitted to include all necessary ADA adaptations.

The Thomas Wilbur Homestead will provide a place for residents to call home, as well as access to a wide array of supportive services. From case management and counseling, to job training and life skills classes, the services available will help the residents enjoy improved physical and mental health, enrich their lives, and help them become integrated into the community – a model that has had a proven track record of success.

“This is a valuable example of what we can achieve when we work together for a better future for all Rhode Islanders,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “By creating good homes, providing supportive services, and reusing historic buildings that are convenient to retail and commercial activities and within our existing infrastructure networks, we are creating healthier, more vibrant communities – KeepSpace communities. With its mission of providing healthy, affordable homes, Rhode Island Housing is pleased to create better living opportunities for individuals, families and communities.”

The apartments at the Thomas Wilbur Homestead will be available Rhode Islanders with disabilities and their families, earning up to $21,950 for a family of four. The apartments will not only provide much-needed homes that can accommodate people with disabilities, but also easy access to vital supportive services. In fact, the development is not far from Kent Hospital, Kent County Mental Health Services and many other medical services that can be easily accessed by residents.

“I am proud to join HUD’s committed partners to break ground on such a worthy project,” said Christine Keshura, HUD Providence Multifamily Housing Director. “The Section 811 grant program is among the most competitive grant processes in the federal government, serving a vital need by making sure adults with disabilities have a safe, decent and affordable place to live. Receiving funding under this program speaks volumes about the coordination and professionalism involved in making today possible, and HUD is thrilled to be part of the team that is helping to expand housing opportunities in Warwick.”

“MHRH was pleased to provide Thresholds funding for this project. The mission of the Department to assist individuals with disabilities towards the path to recovery is only possible with safe, affordable housing,” said Craig S. Stenning, Director of the state Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals (MHRH). “A decent place to live is one of the cornerstones of anyone’s life and this development helps some of our most vulnerable individuals achieve this goal.”

“These five homes will revitalize and enhance the Apponaug neighborhood,” said Susan Baxter, Chairwoman of the HRC. “This development is a wonderful example of how Neighborhood Opportunities Program funds are used to contribute to economic development, and, most importantly, transform lives.”

Several partners have provided financing, making this development possible. HUD provided $766,400 in 811 funds, Rhode Island Housing invested $275,000 in state HOME funds, the HRC set aside $250,000 in Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP) funds, and the City of Warwick provided a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant. Rhode Island Housing and the state Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals also devoted $280,000 in Thresholds funds to this development. LISC and the Corporation for Supportive Housing provided critical pre-development loans.

Contact: Jo-Ann Ryan, 401 457-1258
jryan (at) rhodeislandhousing (dot) org

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