The state of Rhode Island has taken another step in its efforts to end veterans homelessness with the opening of the Veterans for Tomorrow development in Providence.
Local, state, and federal officials, as well as the development partners and residents, turned out on Monday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of this 20-unit permanent supportive-housing project for formerly homeless and disabled veterans.
“We are extremely proud of this affordable housing development because it really honors those who put on a uniform and served our country,” says Barbara Fields, executive director of Rhode Island Housing. “This is 20 new safe, livable apartments for veterans and another step toward ending homelessness.”
Since January, 163 veterans have been connected with housing in the state. Approximately 40 more need housing for the state to reach its goal of ending homelessness.
To create Veterans for Tomorrow, nonprofit The Arc of Blackstone Valley and its subsidiary, the Blackstone Valley Development Corp., renovated the vacant and blighted historic Heaton & Cowing Mill, a factory built in 1832 that is said to be one of the oldest surviving textile mills in Rhode Island.
Veterans started to move into the development at the end of September. The one efficiency and 19 one-bedroom furnished units are serving vets who earn up to 50% of the area median income. The units also are receiving Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers administered by the Providence Housing Authority so residents pay no more than 30% of their income for rent.
The VA hospital, which is just several miles away and easily accessible by public transit, will provide an array of supportive services for the veterans. Other amenities include a community space, resident lounge areas, an outdoor patio, and an on-site classroom where The Arc of Blackstone Valley will provide job training for the vets.
Fields says the development is a great example of the federal, state, and local governments’ strong commitment to doing veterans housing.
The $5.1 million development was financed with 11 funding sources. Rhode Island Housing allocated the 4% low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and provided a first mortgage, HOME funds, a deferred payment loan, and funding from the Thresholds program, an initiative of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health Care, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. The development also included federal and state historic tax credits, city of Providence HOME funds, and voter-approved bond funding from the Building Homes Rhode Island program. Michel Associates was the syndicator of the LIHTCs.
“It’s amazing how many people want to help out veterans. That’s what it really took to make this development work,” says John J. Padien III, CEO of The Arc of Blackstone Valley. “[Veterans homelessness] is an easy problem to solve if everyone puts their minds to it.”