East Providence, RI – The principal members of the Taunton Avenue Collaborative – Jennifer Hawkins (President and CEO of ONE Neighborhood Builders), Michelle Wilcox (President and Interim CEO of Crossroads RI), Margaret Holland McDuff (CEO of Family Service Rhode Island), and Lisa Guillette (Executive Director of Foster Forward) – issued the following joint statement today following the RIHousing Board of Commissioners meeting on May 16, 2024. 

“We are deeply appreciative of the support RIHousing and the state’s Department of Housing have provided to Center City Apartments. 

“We are especially grateful for the catalytic, first-in support from LISC Rhode Island, the Champlin Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Housing Ministries of New England, and a critical $2,000,000 federal appropriation from Senators Reed and Whitehouse that positioned Center City Apartments to obtain the funding awarded during the May 16 RIHousing Board of Commissioners meeting.

“Center City Apartments is a 144-unit shovel-ready affordable housing community of which 52 apartments will be reserved for persons who are experiencing homelessness or at the highest risk of homelessness. Those 52 apartments will eventually provide high-quality, service-enriched housing to families who are now living in emergency shelters, residing in hotels at an exorbitant cost to the state, or especially tragically, surviving outside. 

“The announced funding will allow us to immediately advance 95 of the total 144 apartments in the development and 31 of the total 52 apartments for unhoused and extremely low-income neighbors. 

“We will continue to work tirelessly with Rhode Island Housing, the Department of Housing, and other capital partners to competitively secure the final 12% of funding for this $65,000,000 project. Once this final component is secured, we will expeditiously move forward with developing the remaining units, which we know our state so desperately needs. 

 “It is well known that Rhode Island has an urgent housing supply crisis, and the work of Speaker Shekarchi, Governor McKee, state leaders, and housing advocates to move the needle has been instrumental in making progress. As we look to the future, we must continue to come together to implement reforms that will accelerate construction of projects like Center City Apartments that have the scale to adequately address the housing shortage.