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‘We need to invest more’: R.I. funds $100m to build affordable housing in 13 municipalities

Lisa Guillette, the president of Foster Forward, walks through an apartment building her nonprofit purchased to build affordable housing for young people aging out of the foster care system.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Less than a year ago, Governor Dan J. McKee was sitting inside a packed bingo room at the Meadowbrook Terrace in Warwick, where he signed a long-sought bill that dedicated $250 million toward housing, with $155 million earmarked for creating new and preserving existing units.

On Thursday, Rhode Island Housing’s Board of Commissioners voted to award more than $100 million in funding to support the construction and preservation of more than 1,480 units that will eventually be built across the state.

“It’s no secret that Rhode Island has housing challenges at multiple levels,” said McKee in remarks during the commissioners meeting. “Historically, our state has underinvested in housing. We need to invest more, and we need to get more built.”


The $101 million in funding comes from various federal and state resources, which include $82.9 million from McKee’s $250 million Fiscal Year 2023 budget investment in housing and homelessness support programs. Other sources of funding stem from the Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, Low-Income Operating Reserve Program, and other programs.

Governor Dan McKee speaks at a ground-breaking ceremony in October 2022.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The new units are spread across 23 developments in 13 municipalities. Interested developers were able to apply for various sources of funding through a single consolidated Request for Proposals. The first round of funding was awarded in June 2022.

Thursday’s awards means approximately $115 million of the $155 million that has been dedicated in housing production has been committed. However, while the awarded projects “represent a significant step forward,” most of these new units will not be ready for residents to move in for years, said Housing Secretary Stefan I. Pryor, who also serves as the board chair of Rhode Island Housing.

“These projects will not sprout out of the ground overnight,” said Pryor, and explained the state still faces mounting challenges in combatting homelessness.


Rhode Island Housing anticipates that developers will be able to apply for another round of funding starting in September.

The 23 developments receiving awards include:

  • Central Street Development in Pawtucket and Central Falls: 30 new units and the preservation of 32 existing units, with the addition of two community service spaces: a homeownership center and “Tech Hub” for residents. The development is a mixed-use, mixed-income project across 12 sites in Pawtucket and Central Falls.
  • Rosebrook Commons in Middletown: a mixed-use, mixed-income development including the construction of 64 new units and 23,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.
  • Southpoint Commons in Westerly: a mixed-income development containing 72 new units, office space, a clubhouse, and other amenities.
  • Reynolds Farm Senior Housing II in North Kingstown: 40 new units restricted to residents that are aged 55 and older.
  • Broad Street Homes in Central Falls: a proposed development site made up of three proximate lots along Broad Street, adjacent to City Hall. The project will develop 47 new units, which will range in size, from efficiencies to three bedrooms.
  • Ade Bethune House in Portsmouth: a new construction project that will create 54 units of affordable, age-restricted housing and a new senior center.
  • Potters Tigrai Apartments in South Providence: for a total of 57 units, the development will preserve 37 existing units, while creating an additional 20 units. Two separate components comprise the development, both located in South Providence. The development is named in honor of Asata Tigrai, a housing advocate who has worked in the neighborhood for decades.
  • The Avenue in Providence: a development that will consist of two components. The first component contains 46 units located on sites in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence that will be rehabilitated to ensure they remain safe, affordable housing units. The second component involves the construction of 39 new units, in addition to commercial space and project amenities.
  • Summer Street Apartments in Providence: 176 new units on Broad Street. All units will be one-bedroom units, available to extremely low-income households. The developer, Crossroads Rhode Island, intends to replace the existing Travelers Aid Housing “tower” units with the Summer Street apartments, and the development will be available to those experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
  • Lockwood Plaza Phase I in Providence: Originally built in 1979, the development consists of 209 affordable units, 108 of which are townhouses, while the other 101 units are in a high-rise building. Phase I is for the townhouse units, as the high-rise component will be completed in a subsequent phase.
  • Copley Chambers II & III in Providence: 124 new units of affordable housing and 6,800 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The development will contain two five-story buildings on adjacent lots.
  • Pocasset Reserve Phase I in Tiverton: formerly known as Tiverton Heights, the development will construct 275 new units. The first phase of the development will create 129 units.
  • Ralph R. Russo Manor in Johnston: a development that will preserve 22 existing units that were originally constructed in 1990.
  • Villages at Manville in Lincoln: 72 new units that will be built on a vacant 5-acre site. The improvements will consist of 3 three-story residential buildings and a single-story community building.
  • Millrace District in Woonsocket: an adaptive reuse of three vacant mill buildings that are proposed to be revitalized into a mixed-use, mixed-income development, comprising 70 “live and work” studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The development will also include 16,500 square feet of office, retail and arts fabrication space.
  • Studley Building in Providence: a 65-unit building in downtown, consisting of 5 one-bedroom, 20 studio, and 40 efficiency/micro-loft units. Fourteen units are currently Workforce Housing Units.
  • East Point in East Providence: a development that will construct a total of 100 new units in two phases of 50 apartments each.
  • Walker Lofts in Lincoln: a substantial rehabilitation of a historical blighted mill complex. The development will consist of 126 total units.
  • Georgiaville Place in Smithfield: a newly constructed homeownership development consisting of nine tri-level townhomes. All 9 units will be ready for occupancy within 90 days.
  • Bernon Mills in Woonsocket: a historic mill to be redeveloped into 60 units of rental housing and commercial space. There will be a mix of efficiency, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
  • 24 Inkerman St. in Providence: proposed rehabilitation of a three-story home with three two-bedroom units.
  • Hive Apartments in Providence: the redevelopment of two historic buildings into one mixed-use property that includes 124 rental units. The development’s units will be market-rate apartments, along with five to six retail units below grade level, on the ground floor and the rooftop.
  • 25 Bough St. in Providence: currently an abandoned, blighted building in the Olneyville neighborhood, the development will create a mixed-use commercial community center to serve the neighborhood. The mission of the development includes education, workforce and economic development, as well as reducing health inequalities.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.