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Narragansett, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed and R.I. Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Housing Josh Saal joined Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), RIHousing, community partners and residents to celebrate the completion of renovation work at Beachwinds Apartments in Narragansett on Monday, April 18.
Beachwinds Apartments, just blocks from Narragansett Sound, is a 104-unit affordable housing community consisting of two senior developments – Beachwood Apartments and South Winds Apartments. The properties were originally built in 1977 and comprise 4 buildings rented to low and moderate-income seniors containing 94 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom apartments.
“The renovations at Beachwinds bring a long list of improvements to this property. Not only have six of the units been converted for full ADA compliance, these buildings are also more environmentally-friendly, with improved energy efficiency and sustainability features,” said Senator Reed. “RIHousing has played a key role in distributing financing for these types of projects and by providing statewide leadership to ensure projects like this get done. I am particularly proud of the $9 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that made this project possible. This tax credit serves as an incentive for private developers and
investors to provide more low-income housing by giving investors a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their federal tax liability in exchange for providing financing to develop affordable rental housing.”
POAH acquired the properties in 2004 and completed a modest renovation at a cost of approximately $15,000 per unit. In late 2020, POAH applied for and received approval for and tax-exempt bonds from RIHousing which generated 4% low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) in order to re-syndicate the property and finance a major renovation. Fannie Mae via Boston Financial Investment Management purchased the tax credits.
“Like much of Rhode Island’s rental housing stock, the Beachwoods and South Winds affordable apartments for seniors were built more than 40 years ago. POAH’s substantial renovation will ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for current and subsequent residents of this senior community,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing for RI Josh Saal. “I’d like to thank Aaron Gornstein and the team at POAH as well as Carol Ventura and her staff at RIHousing for their partnership in preserving the long-term affordability while improving the accessibility and energy efficiency of these units.”
POAH’s $9 million ($87,000 per unit) renovation program included: new exterior siding, improved insulation, replacement and roof repair, new windows, new ventilation systems, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, two renovated and expanded community rooms and outdoor space, conversion of 6 apartments to fully compliant ADA units, common area and office upgrades, site work to improve erosion control, parking lot re-paving and striping and walkway repairs.
The renovation program focused heavily on improving energy efficiency, sustainability, and improved ventilation, along with improved kitchen and bathroom finishes and flooring. Construction commenced in March 2021 and was substantially completed in December 2021.
“The demand for affordable housing options for seniors is high,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “In Rhode Island, as in much of the country, housing costs are rising, adding to the challenges seniors face when finding housing they can afford and in communities they wish to live. The renovations at Beachwinds Apartments ensure these rental homes remain affordable, safe and healthy for seniors for years to come.”
“We are grateful to RIHousing and Boston Financial Investment Management for partnering with us to substantially upgrade these affordable housing properties and to improve the quality of life for our residents who call them home,” said Aaron Gornstein, POAH President and CEO.
Rhode Island’s senior population has increased by 12.2% between 2016 and 2020 and is projected to increase by an additional 10% over the next 20 years. More than half (53%) of renters age 55+ in Rhode Island have incomes less than $25,000 per year, 39% of this population are considered cost burdened and 20% are considered severely cost burdened. Meanwhile, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Narragansett has increased almost 40% since 2015.
“This will help to ensure the long-term affordability of these properties in the face of growing housing needs in Rhode Island. We also appreciate the strong support from the Rhode Island Congressional delegation for boosting funding for affordable housing programs, including the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which made this possible,” Gornstein said.