Jennifer Hawkins, ONE Neighborhood Builders’ President and CEO, spoke recently with Amazing Women RI™️ podcast host Deb Ruggiero about affordable housing in Rhode Island.
Hawkins noted that ONE|NB focuses on developing affordable housing across the state, promoting health equity and economic mobility, and works to implement systemic and policy changes. Hawkins emphasized that creating affordable housing has challenges due to the scarcity of capital and restrictive zoning.
In discussing potential housing solutions, Ruggiero mentioned Montgomery County in Maryland, where a significant public fund is being used to build mixed-income affordable units. Hawkins said she appreciated the innovative idea and the public sector playing a role in development. However, she said she is skeptical about the model’s viability in Rhode Island. The primary reason being that the market rate rents in Rhode Island are much lower than in Montgomery County.
Hawkins highlighted some of ONE|NB’s upcoming key projects, including Steeple & Stone in Cumberland, which will offer 44 housing units, and Center City Apartments in East Providence with 144 units, and Broad Street Homes in Central Falls, which will include 44 affordable apartments by converting the former police station and by building a new building on Broad Street.
They also discuss how short-term rentals have impacted the housing stock for year-round renters.