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Officials, Development Partners, and Community Celebrate the Completion of the Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes​

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May 11, 2024


Opening adds 79 new units of affordable housing in Providence

Providence, RI – Today Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rhode Island Field Office Director Peter Asen, the Rhode Island Department of Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, and State Senator Tiara Mack joined Omni Development Corporation, Wingate Companies, RIHousing, Citizens Bank, and other funding and local community partners at the ribbon cutting for the Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes in Providence, marking a new start for the former Barbara Jordan II Apartments site. 

“There is such a tremendous need for quality, affordable housing and so it’s exciting to cut the ribbon on this transformational complex and welcome home dozens of new residents and families. This ambitious project is a major win for Providence and is due to the hard work and teamwork of so many community partners. I was pleased to do my part at the federal level to help deliver funding and I commend RIHousing, HUD, the state, the city, and everyone who played a role in making this redevelopment work not just for new residents, but for the whole neighborhood,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who has championed the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the HOME Investment Partnership Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, the Housing Trust Fund, and other federal sources of housing revenue to increase the stock of affordable housing in Rhode Island. Reed began working in 2000 to preserve these HUD units and keep them affordable for local tenants.

The completion of the Caffey development adds 79 units of new affordable housing to the Upper South Providence neighborhood. Homes will be available to individuals and families making 30%-80% of the Area Median Income, which for a two-person household is between $23,200 and $61,900.

“We know that investing in affordable housing is about building futures and strengthening communities. That’s why our Administration has made strategic, historic investments to grow Rhode Island’s housing stock and connect more Rhode Islanders with an affordable place to call home,” said Governor Dan McKee. “On behalf of the State of Rhode Island, I thank all the partners who came together to make this project possible.”

“This moment has been in the works since 2018. Long before housing was the top issue at the State House, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris and RIHousing were working together with the community to build the housing that this neighborhood deserves,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “This is more than just 79 new affordable homes: it’s proof that community-led collaboration between cities, the state, and private companies can help us address our housing crisis.”

The Barbara Jordan II Apartments formerly at this location included 26 blighted and vacant two- and three-story apartment buildings over almost three acres. The buildings, constructed throughout the 1980s, had been abandoned and vacant since 2015; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosed on the apartments in 2018 and later the same year transferred ownership of the development to RIHousing.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter for a very long story at these developments,” said Peter Asen, Rhode Island Field Office Director for HUD. “HUD appreciates the many local, state and federal elected and career officials who worked over a decade to ensure that the resources would be there to rebuild much needed affordable housing in Upper South Providence.”

“Creating more affordable housing continues to be a top priority for Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Department of Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor. “The Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes were completed through extensive collaboration, a focus on community revitalization, and a commitment to serve the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders. Congratulations to RIHousing, Omni Development, and Wingate Companies on opening the doors to this much needed affordable housing development in Upper South Providence.”

After taking ownership, RIHousing and community partners embarked on an eight-month community engagement process, ensuring neighborhood residents, businesses, institutions, organizations, and other local stakeholders had key involvement in the redevelopment of the site and its surroundings. The discussions held during the engagement process informed RIHousing’s next steps in redevelopment.

“This development exemplifies what can be achieved when we engage with the community to transform underutilized properties into affordable living spaces for our neighbors,” said Providence Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “Increasing the housing supply in our city requires finding innovative solutions and getting creative with the historical buildings we already have. I am proud to join RIHousing in celebrating the completion of the Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes.”

“I am incredibly proud to see this affordable housing development come to fruition and transform our neighborhood into one connected community here in South Providence,” said Providence Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11). “I vividly remember the deplorable housing conditions of the old buildings and the despair on the faces of those living here when I knocked on doors many years ago. This new community was built on a strong foundation of private and public partnerships working collaboratively to give folks safe and affordable homes.”

“These units will help ensure families in my district have affordable housing options,” said Rhode Island State Senator Tiara Mack. “The rising cost of rent has impacted too many in recent years. I am grateful for organizations like Omni that build beautiful, affordable homes that keep families in Providence who would otherwise be forced to leave.”

Incorporating feedback from the community engagement process, RIHousing released a Developer Request for Proposals (RFP) in 2019. After a diligent review of the developer submissions by RIHousing staff and the unanimous approval from an outside advisory committee, the final developer selection took place at the June 2020 RIHousing Board of Commissioners meeting. Omni Development and Wingate Companies were chosen as co-developers.

“The successful completion of this development is a powerful testament of perseverance and working collectively with others to address the housing needs in our community,” said Sharon Morris, Executive Director of Omni Development Corporation. “Quality affordable housing options transform communities, and I am excited that Omni Development and Wingate Companies was afforded this opportunity to build these apartments that will soon be called home for 79 families.”

“Wingate is grateful and proud to contribute to Providence’s revitalization and vitality; crafting affordable, high-quality apartments that echo the city’s spirit,” said Brian Kean, Senior Vice President of Wingate Companies. “Collaborating with our joint venture partner Omni Development, we’re dedicated to building homes where dreams thrive and communities flourish.”

A ceremonial groundbreaking in April 2022 marked the beginning of construction on the four-story apartment building and two-story townhomes.

Numerous funding sources made this redevelopment possible, including both 4% and 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and construction and permanent financing from RIHousing, Citizens Bank, and the Providence Redevelopment Authority.

“The redevelopment of the Barbara Jordan II Apartments into the Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes has been a long and meaningful process for all of those involved,” said Carol Ventura, CEO of RIHousing. “RIHousing is proud to have provided funding and support in the transformation of blighted properties into beautiful new affordable homes for the people of this neighborhood. We remain committed to the development of more affordable communities across Rhode Island and look forward to working with our partners to expand our state’s housing inventory.”

The Joseph Caffey Apartments are a 54-unit, four-story building, named for the 24-year President and CEO of the Omni Development Corporation; Joseph Caffey was also the former Director of Housing Rehabilitation for the City of Providence and was the President of the National Leased Housing Association based in Washington, D.C.

The Jordan Caffey Townhomes are so named to honor both Joseph Caffey and the namesake for the original development on the site, Barbara Jordan, a trailblazing Congresswoman and a leader of the Civil Rights movement.

Residents of the Caffey Apartments and Townhomes will have access to an onsite digital learning center that was funded through a $500,000 investment from Citizens. Equipped with computers and high-speed Wi-Fi, the technology center will host wrap-around workforce development and education support to help residents achieve independence, self-sufficiency, and overall well-being.

“At Citizens, we are committed to strengthening our local communities and supporting the economic growth and success of Rhode Island and its vibrant communities like Upper South Providence,” said Keith Kelly, Rhode Island President at Citizens. “We’re honored to help finance the Caffey Apartments and Townhomes redevelopment project and to fund the construction of the new onsite digital learning center that will provide resources and wrap-around services to help residents achieve their goals.”

Block Party
Today, in celebration of the opening of the Caffey Apartments and Townhomes and in partnership with Omni Development Corporation and Wingate Companies, RIHousing is holding the South Side Spring Block Party from 12pm-4pm in the parking lot of the Joseph Caffey Apartments, 23 Portland Street, Providence. The block party has family-friendly activities, food trucks, resources from local companies and organizations, and more. This event is open to the public.

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