Problem property restored through City’s receivership program and robust community advocacy
March 1, 2018
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Jeri Martins, Home Ownership Manager for West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Teresa Guaba, Community Organizer for Neighbors for Revitalization (N4R), and community members to present the new owner of 93 Superior Street, Juan Morente, the keys to the multi-family home. The once regarded problem property was successfully rehabilitated through the City’s Receivership Program, a tool within the EveryHome initiative, and robust community advocacy led by N4R.
“The rehabilitation of 93 Superior Street and its sale to a Providence family is a big success story for the capital city,” said Mayor Elorza. “This project is a prime example of how collaboration can inject life back into properties and ultimately neighborhoods. While this is a great accomplishment, there is much more work to be done as we set our eyes on restoring even more residences across our communities with the EveryHome initiative.”
In 2015, Mayor Elorza created the EveryHome initiative in an effort to revitalize and fill abandoned homes in the capital city. The City utilizes a suite of tools to bring vacant and abandoned residential properties into productive reuse, including receivership. Stephen DelSesto of Pierce Atwood LLP, the court-appointed receiver, oversaw the property rehabilitation and contractor ACR Construction & Management Corporation led the restoration work. Prior to court-intervention, the property was long-blighted, tax delinquent, and had been cited for a number of health, safety, and code violations.
“It has been our privilege to take part in a program that offers the opportunity to build a stronger community by allowing eligible residents to experience the American Dream of home ownership,” said Martins. “Together, we’ve rehabilitated and transformed this property so that it is once again a beautiful and viable home.”
Community advocacy to prioritize this property in the West End neighborhood began in 2015, due to the unsafe and dangerous conditions facing the surrounding neighborhood. Neighbors for Revitalization (N4R) engaged stakeholders including the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and The Providence Children and Youth Cabinet (CYC), and worked collaboratively with city officials to ensure rehabilitation.
“Power is our ability to affect change. We all have power and what matters is how we use it; people need to know what a group of neighbors can do when they come together to create healthy neighborhoods,” said Guaba. “The way we live determines the type of impact we receive – the type of impact that our children receive.”
A Community Development Block Grant subsidy as well as low-interest construction lending provided by the Providence Redevelopment Agency (PRA) enabled the successful full rehabilitation of the property. The resulting energy-efficient, sustainable, and affordable home has been sold to an owner-occupant meeting HUD income requirements.