WASHINGTON, DC — In an effort to continue the redevelopment of the former Tonomy Hill public housing project, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that the Newport Housing Authority (NHA) will receive over $1.2 million for 90 rental vouchers to provide affordable housing for low-income families. Tonomy Hill is a mixed-income community in Newport’s North End known as Newport Heights. This funding is part of the fifth and final phase of redevelopment. It will be awarded through the Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) program, which provides federal grants to restore dilapidated public housing units and revitalize distressed low-income neighborhoods.
Reed has championed this Newport Heights HOPE IV project since it began in 2003 by helping to secure the original funding and shepherding NHA through the process. After Newport’s application for the funding was initially denied by HUD, Reed organized a meeting between Newport and HUD representatives and then arranged a tour of Tonomy Hills for HUD officials. HUD subsequently awarded the Newport Housing Association a $20 million dollar HOPE IV grant that launched the first phase of redevelopment.
“Tonomy Hill is a real success story and a great example of public and private sector groups partnering together to revitalize a neighborhood and strengthen our community. This federal aid will provide safe, high-quality, affordable housing for ninety families in Newport. It will give them not only a brighter future, but the opportunity to have a home of their own,” said Reed, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees HOPE IV. “I commend the Newport Housing Authority and its staff for their tireless efforts to provide more Rhode Islanders with access to affordable housing.”
“We are very proud of all of the accomplishments thus far in the revitalization of the North End of Newport. Senator Reed has been integral to the project’s success and we are grateful for his support,” said Jim Reed, Executive Director of the Newport Housing Authority. “The Authority along with a great number of partners set out to transform a distressed property into what we see as a vibrant community filled with working families, children playing, and people sitting on front porches enjoying the weather and the neighborhood they live in. The Authority is soon to receive additional funds for Section 8 vouchers which will help provide affordable assistance to families in need. Our applicant list for the program is almost 1,000. Our lists for all of our programs keep growing. We will soon be able to help more people than we currently assist today. This is especially good news!”
Last April, Reed joined Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in introducing legislation to reauthorize the successful HOPE VI grant program.
According to the Newport Housing Authority, this project has generated 260 new jobs and crime has been reduced by almost 80%.
“The redevelopment of Tonomy Hill and revitalization of the North End has generated jobs, bolstered the local economy, reduced crime, and transformed the neighborhood,” concluded Reed.
In addition to the 90 Section 8 vouchers, phase five will also include the demolition of the remaining 125 Tonomy units; development of approximately 8 acres of land for homeownership; and improvements to the Florence Gray Community Building.