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Sen. Reed. Gov. Raimondo, partners celebrate Cherry Briggs renovations

October 19, 2016

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Governor Gina Raimondo, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, representatives from Rhode Island Housing, and Boston-based Preservation of Affordable Housing today celebrated the preservation and renovation of Aaron Briggs Manor and Cherry Hill Apartments, two housing developments for low-income seniors.

Located just four miles apart, “Cherry Briggs,” as the project is known, was awarded funding from Rhode Island’s Housing Preservation and Production Program (HPPP) and was the first housing development in the state to carry out renovations with this funding. Work on the buildings, which included the modernization of outdated kitchens and bathrooms, life safety system upgrades, new windows and siding, energy efficiency measures, and landscaping enhancements, began during the spring.

“Today is an extraordinary example of partnership, cooperation and collaboration [with] the public and private sectors and federal, state and local [levels] and working with residents,” said Senator Reed. “Housing is central to who we are and this effort is central to helping people live in decent, affordable housing.”

Aaron Briggs Manor is an 88-unit senior/disabled housing development in Providence’s West End at the edge of Federal Hill. Cherry Hill Apartments is a 72-unit senior/disabled affordable housing development in Johnston. Both are owned and operated by nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).

Both properties were originally constructed during the late 1970s; POAH acquired Cherry Hill in 2005 and Aaron Briggs in 2015. The nonprofit was looking for a way to formulate a long-term recapitalization for Cherry Hill, and its purchase of Aaron Briggs created an opportunity for POAH and its partners to combine both properties into a single bond/tax credit transaction.

“You can’t have a vibrant Rhode Island unless everybody has an affordable, safe place to live,” said Governor Raimondo. “Question 7 [upcoming bond referendum] could mean tens of millions of dollars that will allow us to attract even more in private capital and building affordable housing.”

“In our efforts to create jobs and boost Rhode Island’s economy, we are excited to be able to launch construction on this project using funding that the Governor and the legislature worked together to provide,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing.  “We will continue to leverage federal, state and private sector resources to put Rhode Islanders back to work preserving and improving our housing stock. This is a win-win-win for everyone.”

“I am delighted to be here at today’s celebration of yet another successful collaboration between POAH and RI Housing that will continue to benefit low income seniors in this state,” said POAH President Aaron Gornstein. “The Pilot Housing Preservation and Production Program, which provides critical gap financing for this type of housing, was an absolutely invaluable resource and we are grateful to Governor Raimondo, the General Assembly and Rhode Island Housing for having the vision to develop this program.”

The project renovations included new roofs, siding and insulation, energy efficient windows, hot water heater and boiler replacements, improved ventilation systems, upgraded fire protection systems, common-area improvements, handicap accessibility modifications and the modernization of many original apartment kitchens and bathrooms.

During today’s ceremony, Gornstein thanked Citizens Bank Rhode Island, the tax credit investor, and National Affordable Housing Trust, the tax credit syndicator for its support.

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