Building Equity: Home, Health, and Opportunity
In the summer of 2017, ONE|NB set out to develop a new home in the Elmwood neighborhood. To date, ONE|NB has built and sold over 120 affordable homes for first-time buyers. In order to bridge the gap between the cost of construction and a sales price that is affordable to a low to moderate income buyer, we applied for HOME funds from the City of Providence. We also looked to our long-standing community partner, Building Futures, to help us reduce construction costs and increase our impact.
Building Futures provides opportunities for low-income diverse community members to prepare themselves for apprenticeships in labor trades. The Building Futures pre-apprenticeship training is a critical first step for many individuals and has been the key to unlocking a successful and profitable career in carpentry, electrical work, iron working and the like. By bringing on a team of pre-apprentices from Building Futures, we were able to provide opportunities for the crew the hone their skills and the subsidized labor costs greatly reduced the cost of construction. We got the opportunity to sit down with some of the training participants and hear their stories.
Darshaun, 25, is a Providence resident living in Fruit Hill. “I was working at a gas station and one of their alumni came in and we started talking and he told me about the program.” Prior to joining Building Futures he didn’t know what he wanted to do and felt that “everything else wasn’t working”. He says he took the leap of faith and decided to try something new. He went to the orientation, applied to the program, and was accepted. Darshuan found his niche in electrical work and is looking forward to joining the IBEW union.
Gregory is also a Providence resident. His sister, a painter apprentice who just completed 2,000 hours with the IUPAT union, and his brother are both alumni of Building Futures. He explained how he had tried to enter the carpentry field in the past but was discouraged by the barriers he encountered, such as obtaining a number of expensive certifications. Through the Building Futures program he now holds an OSHA, first aid, and a number of other certifications which will put him in a prime position for an apprenticeship with the Iron Workers’ union. “Not too many other training programs out there are doing that, giving chances, helping to bridge that gap of coming from a bad background and then getting the tools to move forward” Gregory says. “After the first few months you start to see the house take shape, it’s like ‘wow, I did that.’” He credits the home-building program with helping his confidence and self-esteem. “I like the trust that I get,” he adds.
98 Atlantic was completed in March 2019. This beautiful home has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a huge walk-in closet, a deck and a yard. We were able to offer it at $140,000. The property is income-restricted, meaning it could only be sold to a family earning less than 80% of the area median income (about $55,000) and it must be owner occupied.
When it was time to search for a buyer, we went through all our usual channels – online listing services, social media, and promoting the opportunity in the community, but it was our one-on-one financial coaching that connected us with our new buyer. Once Jessenica, a client of ONE|NB’s, saw the new home, she knew it was where she wanted to raise her family. A first-time homebuyer and single mother of two, Jessenica purchased the property on April 30, 2019. We turned over the keys, congratulated her, and thanked everyone for their hard work.
We’re so pleased to be able to provide a high-quality and affordable home for this family. This story reminds us why we do what we do! ONE|NB Building Equity: Home, Health, Opportunity. Stay tuned for more stories like these.