Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Congratulations to Peter Walsh!

After almost eight years with the RIHousing team, the agency would like to congratulate Deputy Director Peter Walsh on his impending retirement.

Peter has served as the Deputy Director for Homeownership and Administration, where he has overseen the corporation’s Homeownership origination and servicing, the RIHousing HelpCenter and the Information Technology, Human Resources, Communications and Facilities functions within RIHousing. 

“Peter has been an outstanding member of the senior team at RIHousing. We have benefitted enormously from his business acumen as well as his commitment to the communities and people of Rhode Island,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “We will miss Peter tremendously – particularly his unique style and sense of humor – but wish him all the best in his next chapter..”

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director in June 2015, Walsh served as Director of Homeownership and Customer Service at the corporation, where he oversaw a dramatic increase in the number of mortgage originations administered by RIHousing and its partners. Peter joined the corporation in 2009 as Director of External Relations, following nearly three decades in the banking industry with Citizens Bank and Bank RI. 

RIHousing Preserves Historic Mill, Creates 65 New Apartments

RIHousing will help preserve the state’s second-oldest mill and create 65 new apartments, recently approving $9 million in financing for Lippitt Mill Apartments in West Warwick was Listed on the National Register of historic places, Lippitt Mill is currently vacant and uninhabitable.

The $15.9 million project received $2.1 million in Rebuild RI tax credits and rebates from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and will support 117 jobs.

Lippitt Mill was built in 1809 and has withstood the turmoil of the Civil War and hundreds of New England winters to evolve from a cotton mill, where workers toiled by candlelight, to a 21st -century operation that dyed delicate laces for international commercial clients. At the time of its closing in 2010, Lippitt Mill was the longest continually-operating mill in the country and is believed to be one of the oldest timber-frame mill buildings still standing.

Rhode Island First State to Join ConnectHome Nation

RIHousing, in partnership with the RI Office of Innovation, was selected as one of 30 communities participating in the ConnectHome Nation initiative, which aims to end the digital divide in public housing across the United States. Rhode Island is the first state to join the initiative.

“ConnectHome and now ConnectHome Nation is a first of its kind, public private partnership that is committed to ending the digital divide in public housing across the United States,” said Chike Aguh, chief executive officer of EveryoneOn, the national nonprofit implementing ConnectHome Nation. “We are so excited to welcome Rhode Island to this new cohort of communities who are committed to changing the life trajectory of some of the most in need in our country.”

In May 2017, EveryoneOn announced the expansion of the ConnectHome pilot initiative, which launched in 2015 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and was created to bridge the digital divide in 28 pilot communities. Rebranded ConnectHome Nation, the goal of the initiative is to expand to 100 communities and connect 350,000 people living in HUD-assisted housing by 2020.

To learn more about ConnectHome Nation, visit www.connecthomenation.org.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Brenda Hayden Named Assistant Director of Homeownership

RIHousing recently announced that Brenda Hayden will manage the corporation’sresidential mortgage loan programs as Assistant Director of Homeownership.

“Brenda’s extensive experience in mortgage banking will be a valuable asset to the corporation as we move forward in our efforts to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to housing that meets their needs,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “We are excited to welcome Brenda to the RIHousing team and look forward to working with her.”

Hayden will oversee the day to day underwriting operations and ensure that a wide range of loan programs are developed and implemented. She will also manage RIHousing’s Homebuyer Education program to help homebuyers learn about the buying process and make more informed decisions regarding mortgage options.

Hayden comes to the agency with over three decades of experience in housing finance and most recently served as a Vice President at the Washington Trust Company. Prior to her time at Washington Trust, she held mortgage banking positions at Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation and AmericaFirst Home Loans.

Citibank Funds Rehab of Providence Apartments

 RIHousing announced its third conduit financing agreement with Citibank – an agreement that will finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of Colony House Apartments in Providence.

Colony House Apartments is a 101-unit development that serves elderly and disabled residents. Under the financing agreement, RIHousing required a long-term use restriction to ensure that the development remains affordable for the next 30 years.

“Our initial financing agreement with Citibank was the first of its kind in Rhode Island and served as Citibank’s entrĂ©e into this market. We are thrilled to bring outside investment to Rhode Island to finance the preservation of much-needed housing,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing.

Through this financing structure, Citibank will make a direct loan to RIHousing, and RIHousing will issue a tax-exempt note to Citibank. RIHousing will then advance the loan proceeds to the borrower (Standard Property Company) under its tax-exempt bonding authority.

“This agreement is a testament to RIHousing’s success in broadening our partnerships and thinking creatively to attract private investment to our state,” added Fields.

First Down Program Helps 358 Rhode Islanders Put Down Roots

RIHousing’s recently-launched First Down program is already making a huge impact, with 335 Rhode Islanders registering for the program to aid the purchase of their first home. The program provides $7,500 in down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in one of six Rhode Island communities.

The First Down program is structured as a forgivable loan and targets the six communities most affected by the foreclosure crisis: Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket.

The down payment assistance is available to first-time homebuyers purchasing a one- to four-family home or condominium. The property must be the buyer’s primary residence, and buyers must obtain a RIHousing first mortgage through one of 35 participating lenders or RIHousing.

Click here to learn more about the First Down program.

149 Senior Apartments Preserved Through RIHousing Refinancing

With $12 million in refinancing from RIHousing, 149 senior apartments will remain affordable for 40 years at Saint Elizabeth Place, a housing development for elderly and handicapped individuals in Providence.

“Rhode Island is facing a serious housing shortage – in particular, we project a shortfall in senior housing, a segment of our population that continues to grow,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “This refinancing ensures that much-needed homes for seniors are preserved at Saint Elizabeth Place, which has a stellar reputation for providing quality senior housing.”

The current contract at Saint Elizabeth Place was set to expire in 2023, but with the refinancing, the developer has renewed the contract for 20 years and agreed to extend the affordability for 40 years.

“Expanding and restoring our housing stock – including housing across the range of price points—is an essential part of our effort to grow economic opportunity in Rhode Island,” said R.I. Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor.