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Taunton Avenue Collaborative Seeks State Investment in Transformative Affordable Housing Partnership

Collaborative partners host media tour of future 160-apartment development.

May 12, 2023

EAST PROVIDENCE - The chief executives of the four nonprofit organizations that make up the Taunton Avenue Collaborative hosted a site visit and tour for media of the transformative housing development today. Prior to the tour, the leaders from ONE Neighborhood Builders, Crossroads Rhode Island, Foster Forward, and Family Service Rhode Island asked members of the General Assembly to make a direct investment in the development which would accelerate construction and provide immediate relief to the state’s surging housing crisis.

“The development at Taunton Avenue will create 160 rental apartments for individuals and families, and is a prime example of how we can build housing at meaningful scale while redeveloping abandoned properties,” said the principals of the Taunton Avenue Collaborative: Jennifer Hawkins, President and Executive Director of ONE|NB, Karen Santilli, CEO of Crossroads, Lisa Guillette, Executive Director of Foster Forward, and Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island. “For too long RI has been dead last in the nation for new home starts. With homelessness rising and families squeezed out of the housing market, it is now more important than ever that we work together: corralling our shared commitment to housing justice and lending our unique skills to this transformative housing development.

During the tour, the four nonprofit leaders asked members of the General Assembly to include $28 million in the state budget to support the Taunton Avenue development. They argued that the funding would provide a return on investment for taxpayers, and they stressed their organizations’ deep ties in the community and their combined track record of success. With state support, the Collaborative’s leaders can accelerate development and be in a position to welcome residents to their new homes starting Summer 2025.

The Collaborative is a unique partnership of four proven organizations:

  • ONE Neighborhood Builders, one of the state’s leading non-profit housing developers and community development corporations;
  • Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s leading provider of housing and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness;
  • Foster Forward, Rhode Island’s leading organization that empowers lives impacted by foster care;

This initiative will redevelop the deteriorated and vacant three-acre property and create a dynamic, mixed-use campus that includes 160 residential units, 6,000 square feet of commercial space earmarked for a new early learning center, 1,500 square feet of community amenity space, and plentiful playground areas. The project includes the rehabilitation of an existing 4-story building that will include 54 residential units and the construction of two new buildings that will create 106 additional residential units.

The apartments constructed will be affordable for extremely low- to moderate-income households. Approximately 40 percent of the units will be designed as permanent supportive housing (PSH) which pairs housing with case management and supportive services.. PSH is a proven solution to homelessness.

  • 25 apartments will be supported by Crossroads which will provide ongoing support to individuals and families who have experienced homelessness.
  • Foster Forward will support 20 apartments and provide housing and services for foster youth who have aged out of foster care programs.
  • Family Service of Rhode Island will support 20 units and provide supportive services to families who have been involved with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (or at risk of being involved).

The remaining 60 percent of the apartments will be designated as affordable for households earning a low- to moderate-income (60 to 120 percent of AM or approximately $45,000 to $90,000 for a family of two).

To date, the Collaborative has secured more than $3.2 million for the project, including:

  • $2 million Congressional earmark for development;
  • $1 million from Rhode Island Housing for land acquisition;
  • $154,000 from the City of East Providence for land acquisition;
  • $135,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation for acquisition deposits and predevelopment.

Photo credit: Foster Forward

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