News from ONE Neighborhood Builders

June 2017

Jennifer Hawkins will stay at ONE Neighborhood Builders as Executive Director!

ONE Neighborhood Builders is pleased to announce the selection of Jennifer Hawkins as the new Executive Director of the organization.  Currently serving as consultant interim director, we are excited that Jennifer will become the permanent Executive Director on August 28, 2017.

ONE Neighborhood Builders’ (ONE|NB) mission is to work with residents to build a safe, healthy and stable community.  As a NeighborWorks America chartered organization, we accomplish our mission through three lines of business: (1) creation and preservation of affordable housing, and development of commercial real estate to spur economic development, (2) community building and organizing to strengthen the neighborhood’s social fabric, and (3) individual asset building to prepare families for homeownership.

“After a period significant transition, the board of directors is thrilled to bring Jennifer back to the organization” said Bob McMahon, the board chair of ONE|NB “Her commitment to our founding values, her deep knowledge of the community development field, and her passion for working collaboratively makes her the exact leader we need at this important juncture.”

Olneyville Housing Corporation was founded in 1989; in 2015 it acquired Community Works Rhode Island and changed its name to ONE Neighborhood Builders.  During the past 30-years, ONE|NB has developed 367 affordable apartments, over 100 affordable for-sale homes, in addition to more than 75,000 square feet of community and commercial space in Providence.

Jennifer brings substantial neighborhood and organizational knowledge to the Executive Director position, especially since she served as Associate Director of Olneyville Housing Corporation (OHC) from 2011-2015.  Prior to joining OHC, Jennifer was the Deputy Director of the Madison Park Development Corporation in Roxbury, MA for two years and worked for ten years for the non-for-profit supportive housing developer, Breaking Ground.  Most recently Jennifer has provided organizational development and community planning services to a variety of Rhode Island organizations through her consulting firm, Farnum Associates.

She provides her leadership at an exciting and pivotal time for ONE Neighborhood Builders.  The $10.2 million Amherst Gardens affordable housing project is nearing completion with local residents already moving into these 36 new apartments throughout the Olneyville neighborhood.  The final single-family home of award-wining design in the Audrey Street initiative has been completed and its sale is pending.  With shovels in the ground, Trinity Financial’s project at 60 King Street provides an adaptive reuse of the former Imperial Knife factory off Manton Avenue, bringing 60 apartments to the neighborhood in partnership with ONE|NB.  Additionally, ONE|NB continues to convene the intensive Health Equity Zone effort, with several partner organizations in Olneyville.

“ONE|NB serves as a model for how to thoughtfully revitalize communities, demonstrated by its track-record of comprehensive neighborhood development”, said Sabina Matos, Acting Council President of the City of Providence. “I am proud to partner with ONE|NB and welcome the opportunity to work with Jennifer again, as we realize new accomplishments in the years ahead.”

Jennifer is a graduate of Connecticut College and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.  Her community leadership work includes serving on the Smithfield Planning Board.   Jennifer lives in Smithfield, RI with her husband Andrew Cortés and daughter Eve.



60 New mixed-incoming housing units are coming to Olneyville!

THE REDEVELOPMENT OF 60 KING St., The former home of the Imperial Knife Company, broke ground today. / COURTESY TRINITY FINANCIAL LLC

Yesterday (6/13/2017) marked the ground breaking of the 60 King Street redevelopment. The historic mill which was once the house of the Imperial Knife Company will be restored and rejuvenated into much needed housing for the community. Read more here.

The OVie Awards get some well-deserved press

WBOB Radio reported on last Saturday’s OVie Awards! Check it out here.

We are pleased to announce that Jennifer Hawkins has been appointed as interim executive director of ONE Neighborhood Builders!

Jen worked as the associate executive director from 2011 until 2015, and we sought her leadership during this period of transition. The board is confident that her knowledge of the organization, strong stakeholder relationships, and experience in the community development field allow Jen to bring stability and a renewed sense of possibility as we look to the future.

Get a Free Ride to a Farmers’ Market on the Veggie VanOHEZ Logo

This summer and fall, you can get a free trip to Farmers’ Markets around Providence on the Veggie Van, an Olneyville Health Equity Zone program organized in partnership with Farm Fresh RI. The van will stop at Manton Heights, Olneyville Community Health, Olneyville Food Pantry, and Clinica Esperanza. To see a full list of dates, times, and markets, click here.


July 2016

ONE NB Welcomes Robert McMahon as Board President

Bob McMahonRobert McMahon, retired Superintendent of the Providence Parks and Recreation Department, was elected president of the Board of Directors at ONE Neighborhood Builders’ annual meeting. Bob was on the staff of the Providence Parks and Recreation Department for nearly 30 years and served as superintendent from 2008 until he retired in early 2015. Previously, he was Executive Director of the nonprofit Keep Providence Beautiful. He also serves on the Board of Directors at St. Pius V School and San Miguel School. Bob holds a BA in Political Science from Brown University and a Master of Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island.

“I am pleased to be chairing the Board of ONE Neighborhood Builders,” said Bob. “The organization has a great track record of accomplishment in affordable housing and community development in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood, and the Board is looking forward to expanding our work into the Elmwood neighborhood in the near future.”

ONE Neighborhood Builders Begins Construction of New Housing in Olneyville

ONE Neighborhood Builders commenced development of 36 new rental apartments and 2 commercial spaces in the Olneyville neighborhood this month.  Known as Amherst Gardens, this project involves the rehabilitation or replacement of 16 properties, many of which were vacant, abandoned and/or highly distressed when ONE│NB acquired them.  It includes a mix of apartment sizes, for both individuals and families.

Amherst Gardens is a scattered site housing development, with the new or rehabilitated homes scattered throughout the residential core of Olneyville, primarily along the Amherst Street corridor.  The development will reinforce the small residential scale of the neighborhood, provide much-needed affordable housing, and resolve long-standing areas of blight.

“We are excited to be starting construction,” exclaimed Wendy Nicholas, ONE│NB’s Interim Executive Director.  “Amherst Gardens has been in the works for several years, and we are delighted that all of the pieces – the properties, the designs, the construction crew, and the funding – are now all in place.  In producing 36 new apartments in 14 different buildings, ONE Neighborhood Builders is continuing its campaign to improve the neighborhood, block-by-block, making it a better place for families to live, to raise their children and to find employment.

The Amherst Gardens project follows on ONE│NB’s Olney Village development, completed in May 2013.  Olney Village improved the area around the William D’Abate School, creating 40 affordable apartments and several commercial spaces that now house vital community assets: the food pantry serving 450 families each month and the Manton Avenue Project, an after-school arts and theater program.  Both projects serve to upgrade the neighborhood’s housing stock and create better places for families to live.

The total development cost for Amherst Gardens is $10.4 million.  Project funding is coming from Rhode Island Housing, the City of Providence, the State of Rhode Island, the Federal Home Loan Bank, Citizens Bank, and the National Equity Fund.  TDBank provided bridge financing for the property acquisition.

“Rhode Island Housing is thrilled to partner with ONE Neighborhood Builders for this development, which will reinvigorate blighted properties into vibrant, much-needed housing for families,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “The Amherst Gardens initiative builds upon other investments in housing, commercial development, parks and the arts – all of which are enhancing the quality of life in the Olneyville neighborhood.” “Amherst Gardens is a great example of the kind of transformational development that the proposed $50 million Housing Bond will support,” Fields added.

“On behalf of the Olneyville community, I’d like to thank ONE Neighborhood Builders for rebuilding and reimagining Amherst Street,” said City Councilwoman Sabina Matos, who represents Olneyville.  “Quality affordable housing is paramount to a thriving urban community. This development expands our housing options, creates a safer, more vibrant neighborhood for Olneyville families, and further improves the area around one of our most important assets—William D’Abate Elementary School—and directly benefits the students who learn and play there.”

Citizens Bank is providing $6.6 million in construction financing. “Citizens Bank is excited to be a partner on the Amherst Gardens project to provide more affordable housing in Providence’sOlneyville neighborhood,” said Marc Paulhus, Rhode Island President of Citizens Bank.

A community celebration is being planned for early September.AG MapPic

June 2016

A Night to Remember at Olneyville’s OVie Awards

ONE NB Staff, from left to right: Ricardo Tillman, Chris Ackley, Wendy Nicholas, Rosmeri Ramos, Karelin Marcia, Tina Shepard, Alain Noiset, Bryana Del Santo, Jay O’Grady, Lily Hertling, Cynthia Langlykke

ONE NB Staff, from left to right: Ricardo Tillman, Chris Ackley, Wendy Nicholas, Rosmeri Ramos, Karelin Marcia, Tina Shepard, Alain Noiset, Bryana Del Santo, Jay O’Grady, Lily Hertling, Cynthia Langlykke

On Saturday, June 11th, over 200 people gathered at Fete Music Hall in Olneyville to celebrate the community and honor Olneyville leaders, residents, stakeholders and volunteers, at the first Olneyville OVie Awards. The event concluded the week-long celebration of neighborhood revitalization activities nationally recognized as NeighborWorks Week. During NeighborWorks Week (June 4-12), ONE Neighborhood Builders and other NeighborWorks [link] organizations across the country mobilized thousands of residents, businesspeople, and government officials in a week of community development and awareness activities.

Participants in the OVies lined the red carpet in their finest dresses and tuxedos in rhythm to performances by Community MusicWorks and dance company Dexter’s Lab to kick off the night. After guests were warmly welcomed by ONE NB Interim Director Wendy Nicholas and Board President Bob McMahon, Co-Hosts Tina Shepard and Kyle Bennett opened the awards show with an Oscar-worthy opening monologue, complete with red velvet cake, superhero capes, champagne, and a Shirley Temple!

During the ceremonies, nine organizations were awarded prizes chosen by popular online vote. The family-owned and universally-loved restaurant La Lupita took home the prize for Best in Business amidst strong competition, including Olneyville’s NY System. Venue Fete Music Hall itself was recognized for Best in Arts and Entertainment. Neighborhood famous Brent Kerman, Principal of William D’Abate Elementary School, was presented with the Unsung Hero Award by Rokhaya Dione, a D’Abate parent, a testament to the importance of the linkages between the neighborhood’s institutions.

Mori Granot-Sanchez and Angel Sanchez, of RI Latin Dance, kicked off the second

Lorraine Burns celebrates her Lifetime Achievement Award

Lorraine Burns celebrates her Lifetime Achievement Award

half of the show with a gorgeous salsa dance performance. After intermission, the most unexpectedly memorable part of the ceremony was perhaps the standing ovation and earsplitting cheers for Lorraine Burns of Olneyville Food Center, after accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award from Elijah Stephenson, Special Projects Coordinator at YouthBuild Providence. Shortly after, Mayor Jorge Elorza was welcomed to the stage to share his own experiences in the neighborhood.

The ceremony placed a strong emphasis on the links that have been made between community members and police officers. Co-Host Tina Shepard shared her personal experiences with community policing and urged on all present to continue to build meaningful relationships between between police officers and residents. The Olneyville Community’s Police Officers, affectionately known as the cops with hearts, were called on to stage to each receive a Cops with Hearts Award. Lt. Richard Fernandes of Providence Police District 5 received the individual award for Community Policing.

Olneyville resident Virginia Morgan was called to the stage by her daughter to receive the individual Resident Leadership Award for her volunteer services. To round off ceremony, all Olneyville residents were invited ontage to share the spotlight and each receive an Olneyville MVP award, in recognition of the fact that it does indeed take a village, or in this case, a neighborhood, to raise Olneyville.

Co-Hosts Kyle Bennett and Tina Shepard present the final awards to Olneyville residents

Co-Hosts Kyle Bennett and Tina Shepard present the final awards to Olneyville residents

Congratulations to all 2016 OVie nominees!

*indicates winner

Best in Business

La Lupita*

Ello Pretty

Olneyville NY System

Panaderia Salvadorena

Wes’ Rib House

Best in Youth Programming

D’Abate After School Program/ Brown Swearer Center*

Woonasquatucket River Watershed Coucil – Red Shed Bike Camp*

Boys and Girls Club at Manton Heights

Manton Avenue Project

Youth Police Initiative – Providence Housing Authority/ NAFI

Best in Work Force Development Programming

YouthBuild Providence*

Building Futures

Groundwork Providence

The Steel Yard

Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (River Rangers)

Best Community Event

Build A Bed (YouthBuild Providence) *

Back to School Celebration of Rhode Island

Clean Day on the Greenway (Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council)

The Iron Pour (The Steel Yard)

Best Community Resource

Olneyville Library*

Community Action Partnership for Providence (CAPP)

Recycle A Bike Open Shop

The King’s Cathedral

The Olneyville Food Center

United Way 211

Best in Community Health Impact

Clinica Esperanza*

Farm Fresh RI*

Childhood Lead Action Project

City of Providence Health Communities Office

Southside Community Land Trust

Best in Services for Underserved Populations

English for Action*

Clinica Esperanza

Meeting Street – Olneyville Early Child Initiative

Olneyville Neighborhood Association

Project RENEW

The Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence

YWCA at Nickerson

Best in Arts and Entertainment

Fete Music Hall*

Community MusicWorks – Storefront Series at La Lupita

Manton Avenue Project – Series in the Park

The Dirt Palace

Yellow Peril Gallery

Best in Community Investment

United Way of RI – The Olneyville Community Fund*


Rhode Island Department of Health – Division of Community Health and Equity

Rhode Island Foundation

Individual Award Recipients


Unsung Hero Award

Brent Kerman, William D’Abate Elementary School


Lifetime Achievement Award

Lorraine Burns, Olneyville Food Center/ PICA


Youth Leadership Award

Ruben Rodriguez, Olneyville Youth Council


Community Policing Award

Lt. Richard Fernandes, Providence Police District 5 Commander


Resident Leadership Award

Virginia Morgan, Olneyville Resident

Third Audrey Street House For Sale

Audrey Street Initiative Marries Energy Efficiency with Affordable Housing and Job Creation

25-21 AudreyThe third of three houses we built on Audrey Street in Olneyville is nearly complete and available for sale. It is a three bedroom, 1.5 bath in a 1,400 square foot single family home. The house, at 21 Audrey Street, will be available for purchase by first-time low-income home buyers. We have already completed construction and sold the first two homes, the three together make up our Audrey Street Initiative in Olneyville.

The three houses were built through an innovative win-win partnership with Building Futures, an organization that creates career opportunities for low income residents and prepares urban Rhode Islanders for successful careers in the building trades through established apprenticeship programs. Pre-apprentices enrolled in the building trades training program constructed the homes, giving participants in Building Futures’ programs practical experience.

The houses incorporate environmentally friendly features in their design and system choices that increase operating efficiency and lower housing costs for their owners. The construction follows a slightly modified version of Kite Architect’s award-winning design submitted to the Providence Sustainable Housing contest in 2008.

For more information and for inquiries about buying a home, please contact out Asset Building Manager Silvia Acevedo at (401) 351-8719 ext.105.


ONE Neighborhood Builders, partner Trinity Financial, Inc. selected to receive Low Income Housing Tax Credits for 60 King Street

This May, Rhode Island Housing Mortgage Finance Corporation selected ONE Neighborhood Builders and our partners at Trinity Financial, to receive a 2016 allocation of 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the development of 60 King Street in Olneyville. The building will be renovated and converted into 60 mixed-income rental apartments. 60 King is one of three projects in Rhode Island to be selected. The decision by Rhode Island Housing will enable us to move forward with the remediation of the site and renovations later this year.

Originally constructed in 1923, the building at 60 King is also eligible for federal historic tax credits. It was used by the Rochambeau Worsted Company to produce wool until the 1950s and was then sold to the Imperial Knife Company, which operated there until 1998. The building has been vacant since.

The redevelopment of the historic site will breathe new life into a historic asset, remediate a brownfields site, and reconnect the isolated building to the rest of Olneyville, a neighborhood that has undergone considerable reinvestment over recent years after years of disinvestment. 60 King is located at the edge of Olneyville, but is disconnected from the rest of the neighborhood. The redevelopment will reconnect the building and street to the rest of Olneyville and Manton Heights, opening up opportunities and connecting residents, both literally and figuratively. An anticipated 108 jobs will be generated during construction. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2018, and the finished site will boast 60 one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.


ONE NB Provides Tax Day Assistance through VITA

This April, ONE Neighborhood Builders helped over 350 Providence residents file their taxes free of charge. In collaboration with the Providence Coalition and the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, we were able to return $137,668 to members of the community on EITC, and $85,365 to those on CTC. We are grateful for the support of United Way of Rhode Island in making this program successful. We hope to maintain these fruitful partnerships, in years to come, to help more and more residents in doing their taxes for free at one of our VITA sites.


Save the Date! Olneyville OVies

In honor of NeighborWorks Week 2016, please join us at Fete Lounge on Saturday, June 11th at 6 p.m. as we celebrate our community.  It’s a party that promises to be lots of fun AND is a great opportunity to honor many individuals and organizations for the work that they do in Olneyville!  There will be an awards ceremony, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. Dress to impress!Academy_Award_trophy

Award categories include:

  • Best in Business
  • Best in Health Impact
  • Best in Youth Programming
  • Best Neighborhood Resource
  • Best Community Event
  • Best in Creating Opportunity
    and many more!

Individual awards:

  • Community Policing Award
  •  Unsung Hero Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Resident Leadership Award
  • Outstanding Olnevyille Collaborative Member

May 2016

final flyers_Page_1Free Family Fun Fair

On Tuesday, May 3rd   from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, the Olneville Collaborative will host the 3F Fair: Family, Fun, Fiesta at the William D’Abate Elementary School (60 Kossuth Street). This event will feature multiple community organizations providing families with health information and screenings and information on employment opportunities, financial literacy, homeownership opportunities, and summer initiatives for children. Some of the partners include:

  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Brown University Teddy Bear Clinic
  • Childhood Lead Action Project
  • Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic
  • ONE Neighborhood Builder
  • Providence Housing Authority
  • RI Department of Health
  • The Steel Yard
  • YMCA of Greater Providence
  • United Way 211 van
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council
And many more!
A light dinner will be served.  Raffle prizes include a free week of summer camp at the Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA’s Camp Fuller. For more information, call Karelin Marcia at 401-351-8719 ext. 115.

April 2016

ONE Works Team Back at Work in Elmwood And Olneyville

ONE Workscrew2

The streets of Olneyville and Elmwood have been looking a little bit cleaner since the ONE Works team has been back on the job.  At the beginning of April, ONE Neighborhood Builders hired three young people from Providence to take part in a 9 month job training program that will have them perform landscape maintenance services at the ONE NB portfolio and commercial district maintenance in Olneyville Square and on Elmwood Avenue.  The three young men hired-Manny Cruz Merchan, Trey Holford, and Malik Brown will work with Stewardship Program Manager Chris Ackley and ONE Works Field Manager Ricardo Tillman 25 hours per week.  In addition to their work in the field, ONE Works participants will take part in financial literacy classes, soft-skills training, and career exposure with local representatives from various in-demand industries.

The ONE Works crew has been working in the Olneyville Square for the last four years providing beautification and sanitation services for the district.  In May the ONE Works crew will install 24 hanging flower baskets and numerous ground level plantings to make the Square more vibrant and colorful as well as cleaner.

Last year the ONE Works team expanded their services into Elmwood and assisted in the planting of 99 juniper trees in planters on Elmwood Avenue.  The crew then maintained the plantings and the surrounding areas throughout the year.

ONE Works has been successful in working with 18-24 year olds in this program and helping them to obtain real-world work experience, professional development opportunities, and important tangible assets such as bank accounts and driver’s licenses.  Over 65% of ONE Works graduates are employed or in further training within 6 months of completing the ONE Works program.  We look forward to working with the 2016 class of ONE Works and keeping our neighborhoods looking good for all.

Citizens Bank funds financial literacy training
Citizens Bank awarded $10,000 to ONE Neighborhood Builders to support our financial literacy counseling and first-time homebuyer education programs.  Citizens Bank has being a faithful funder of community-based financial training throughout the years.  We congratulate them for their wonderful work and support in the Olneyville and Elmwood neighborhoods.  Silvia Acevedo, ONE NB’s Asset Building Manager, will continue helping families become financially self-sufficient by providing financial counseling and training programs.  If you need help to repair your credit, buy a home, prevent foreclosure or any other financial guidance, please give Silvia a call.  401-351-8719 x105.
ONE Neighborhood Builders Pict

3 for Free: Camps for kids in Olneyville
LanierfootballFor three days during this year’s April school vacation, approximately 80 youth ages 6-16 enjoyed the second annual 3 for Free in Olneyville. 3 for Free is a partnership between ONE NB, the Providence Police Department, RI Department of Health and Olneyville resident leaders. The goal of the program is to enhance and build relationships between neighborhood youth and police officers.  This year’s program consisted of free basketball, soccer and flag football camps. The camps were coached by Providence Police officers and resident leader, Abelardo Hernandez. All participants received a free t-shirt, water bottle, daily nutritious snack, a participation certificate and gold medal. The question asked most by youth during this week? “Why can’t we have this for five days?”

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