Providence selected to share best practices to advance affordable and healthy housing strategies
Monday, March 18, 2019
Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza will join Director of Planning and Development Director Bonnie Nickerson, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC) Executive Director Sharon Conard Wells, and ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins at the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Mayors’ Institute on Affordable Housing and Health: Advancing City-Level Strategies to Generate Sustainable Solutions to be held from April 2-4, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.
“In Providence, we’re prioritizing affordable housing initiatives because we recognize the impact that it has on the health and strength of our communities,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “During the NLC Mayors’ Institute, we will share and explore the strategies being utilized in cities across the nation in an effort to amplify the significant investments Providence is making in our residents and neighborhoods.”
Sponsored by NLC in partnership with NeighborWorks America, the peer-to-peer learning session will include dialogue and discussion with representatives from six communities across the nation and leading experts from housing and health organizations and philanthropic foundations that will help strengthen efforts by local officials and community partners to develop and/or augment effective affordable housing strategies that improve health outcomes.
“West Elmwood Housing is excited to join the Providence team selected to participate in this year’s NLC Mayor’s Institute on Affordable Housing and Health Equity,” said WEHDC Executive Director Sharon Conard Wells. “Joining with Mayor Elorza, other City officials and our colleagues to talk about our local efforts, share ideas and learn about national best practices is a unique opportunity that can foster even greater collaboration and effort to benefit our communities.”
The City, WEHDC and ONE|NB will learn and share best practices to address equity concerns, explore and learn more about innovative financing mechanisms for affordable housing (public/private partnerships and the like), and glean best practices, examples, and learned experience from other cities to inform future local housing initiatives. Through the shared experience of the Mayors’ Institute, the City of Providence and community partners will leave with renewed energy, ideas, and commitment to working together to benefit Providence.
“I look forward to participating in the exchange of ideas and bringing innovative approaches to tackling issues surrounding health and affordable housing back to Providence,” said ONE|NB Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins.
Recent demographic projections indicate that the City’s overall population is expected to grow by 29-32 percent by 2025 (with a 43-46 percent growth rate in number of households), which will require an additional 18,000 affordable housing units in Providence. The City has already begun to address the demand for affordable housing through several initiatives, including the EveryHome program, which has to date successfully rehabilitated over 500 formerly vacant and abandoned residential properties throughout the City through the application of a suite of tools to bring them back into productive use.
As the role of housing as a determinant of success in life — affecting health, access to education, and the opportunity for upward mobility — becomes better understood, cities face the daunting task of eliminating the affordable-and-healthy housing shortfall. The challenge for city leaders is to ensure that city residents can afford a safe and healthy place to live, one that enables them to work, support and protect their families, and ultimately thrive and reach their full potential.
NLC’s well-established Mayors’ Institute model stimulates and supports city-level progress by fostering a rich exchange of ideas among mayors, city staff, community partners, prominent researchers, practitioners and other national experts.
While the primary focus is on supporting mayors in advancing their local efforts, lessons emerging from the Mayors’ Institute will also inform future work to promote a culture of health in communities throughout the nation, highlighting the potential of cross-agency, multisector approaches to address the most difficult and pressing health challenges.
In addition to the City of Providence, the five other cities attending the Mayors’ Institute include: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Vancouver, Washington.
Local NeighborWorks America organizations joining cities at the Mayors’ Institute include: One Neighborhood Development and West Elmwood CDC of Providence; One Roof of Duluth; REACH CDC of Vancouver; Lawrence CommunityWorks of Lawrence; and MidCity Redevelopment of Baton Rouge.
For more on Affordable Housing and Health please see NLC’s new backgrounder, Affordable Housing & Health: City Roles and Strategies for Progress.
About the national League of Cities
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, a special entity within the National League of Cities, helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.
About NeighborWorks America
For 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as NeighborWorks America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes more than 245 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America offers grant funding, peer-exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools and access to training, as the nation’s leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education. In the last five years, our organizations have generated more than $34 billion in investment across the country.