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Crossroads hosted an event with federal and state leaders to celebrate record investments in housing to support the development of Crossroads’ Summer Street Apartments in Providence.
October 13, 2022
PROVIDENCE, RI - Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s leading provider of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness, hosted an event with federal and state leaders today celebrating state and federal investments in housing, including support for the development of Crossroads’ Summer Street Apartments in Providence. The event, heralded as “A Celebration of Housing,” highlighted the social and economic return on investment that funding for low-income housing can generate and made clear that the state must continue to invest in housing to end a decades-long housing crisis in Rhode Island.
“Our central mission is to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness find and secure a stable home. The investment that our state and federal leaders have made in the Summer Street Apartment project will create new opportunities for Crossroads’ residents and provide them with the kind of dignified housing that we all aspire to have,” said Michelle Wilcox, President of Crossroads RI. “We know that the only proven solution for homelessness is housing. Investments in housing developments like our Summer Street project are down payments on our shared work to end homelessness.”
The Summer Street Apartment project is scheduled to break ground in 2023. The 176 apartment development will provide current residents of the Crossroads Tower with modern one-bedroom apartments that include private bathrooms, full kitchens, living spaces, storage, and closets. Currently, residents of the tower live in single-room occupancy (SRO) units that have no kitchens. Residents share communal bathrooms and do not have access to living spaces or safe outdoor space.
The Summer Street development will be built atop an abandoned vacant lot immediately across the street from Crossroads’ 160 Broad Street facility. Upon completion of the Summer Street development, Crossroads will begin a renovation of the Crossroads Tower and convert the SRO units into approximately 80 new one-bedroom apartments for low income and homeless individuals.
“Rhode Island has the potential to be one of the first states in America to end homelessness, and thanks to our federal and state leaders, we are positioned to take an important step toward that goal,” said Crossroads RI Board Chair Julie Duffy. “Building upon our core values of safety, respect and effectiveness, Crossroads is ready to lead this effort, with a firm focus on proven, evidence-informed solutions.”
In early 2022, Governor Dan McKee introduced a budget that included a record $250 million for housing and his administration worked with advocates and lawmakers to protect that investment through the legislative session. Speaker Joseph Skerachi personally championed an effort to include a $10 million line item within that funding to support the Summer Street Development.
“By investing in both immediate needs like expanding our statewide shelter capacity and long-term projects like Crossroads’ Summer Street Apartment development, Rhode Island is making significant progress when it comes to strengthening our housing stock in a way that will better serve the needs of all residents,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I thank the members of our Congressional delegation, the General Assembly, and all of the partners that are working with our Administration to address the availability and the quality of housing in Rhode Island.”
“People have better outcomes across the board when they are in good, stable homes that meet their needs. I'm incredibly proud of the progress we've made, but Rhode Island is in dire need of more housing at all levels,” said Rhode Island Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi. “Congratulations to Crossroads Rhode Island and all of its partners involved in the Summer Street Apartment complex, which will enable 176 tenants to have safety and privacy.”
“At every level — state, federal, and local — Rhode Island is working to ensure that our unhoused neighbors will be safe through the coming winter and beyond,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I’m grateful to work not only with an excellent team within government, but with tremendous community partners like Crossroads who go above and beyond for those in need. This is just the start of our state’s commitment to providing housing for every Rhode Islander.”
The Summer Street development project got a $2 million boost from the earmark secured by Senators Reed and Whitehouse in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations spending law. Reed and Whitehouse also helped pass several pieces of legislation in Congress - including the CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan law, and other appropriations - to provide the state with flexible funding it’s using to make investments in affordable housing and other state and local priorities.
“Homelessness is a complex challenge. Making homelessness less visible doesn’t solve the problem. We’ve got to address housing scarcity, affordability, and get people into quality, permanent housing through projects like this. The Summer Street Apartments will offer people access to quality, long-term, stable housing that’s right for them,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees federal housing funds. “At the federal level, I’ve delivered $700 million over the last two and a half years to invest in affordable housing, keep people in their homes, and help outstanding organizations like Crossroads offer wrap-around services, support, and shelter to those in need. I will continue working to end long-term homelessness and prioritize the production of more housing that Rhode Islanders can afford.”
“Rhode Island has a serious shortage of affordable homes, and too many families are just a job loss or bad diagnosis away from experiencing homelessness,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m glad to partner with Senator Reed to deliver federal funding to help make Crossroads’ Summer Street Development a reality, and I applaud the work of our state and local partners for their dedication to ending homelessness.”
In addition to direct appropriations from the state and federal governments, the Summer Street project will be supported by an array of philanthropic contributions, low-income housing tax credits, grants, loans and an investment from the the City of Providence. Construction is expected to break ground in Spring 2023 and is likely to be completed in late 2024.
“One of the biggest challenges facing our City and State is securing enough affordable housing for those in greatest need, including our unhoused residents,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “The City of Providence and our partners are committed to addressing this challenge head-on. Crossroads Rhode Island Summer Street Apartments is a needed investment toward ending housing insecurity and we look forward to seeing the completion of this development in 2023.”
“Simply put, Rhode Islanders need more affordable housing options,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Fortunately, with the infusion of federal funding, Rhode Island is making historic investments in housing and helping more Rhode Islanders access safe and affordable homes. None of this would have been possible without the commitment of our leaders at the federal and state level. We at RIHousing thank you for bringing these resources to Rhode Island and prioritizing investments in housing.”
“From statewide economic development to individual safety and financial security, everything starts with housing,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. “The Summer Street Apartment development, which will add more than 175 high-quality, permanent, supportive housing units to the state’s housing stock, is a prime example of what we are working to accomplish when it comes to building a stronger, more sustainable and more equitable housing future for all Rhode Islanders. I thank the Crossroads team for their consistent hard work and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with them as this development and others come to life.”
Speakers noted the return on investment that can be achieved through housing. Rhode Island is a stronger state when every Rhode Islander can access affordable housing. When everyone can find safe housing, it makes Rhode Island an attractive place to live and work – allowing state leaders to invest tax dollars in education, economic development, infrastructure, and other initiatives that expand the economy. The National Alliance to End Homelessness found that investments in permanent supportive housing and homeless diversion programs like those run by Crossroads can reduce social service spending by nearly 50 percent. When people are safely and permanently housed, they have better health outcomes, are more likely to be employed, and their kids do better in school.
While focused on building permanent housing, Crossroads RI also continues to provide emergency shelter and diversion services for individuals and families in need. As an organization, Crossroads RI is committed to a Housing First model that seeks to transition individuals and families from shelter to housing as quickly as possible. Crossroads RI is prepared to provide shelter during winter months for those who need it. Last year, Crossroads provided shelter support for more than 1,100 individuals and families and has successfully helped nearly 1,000 Rhode Islanders individuals and families find a new home. Through evidence-based diversion programs, Crossroads helped prevent nearly 500 people - including more than 330 children - from becoming homeless.