Tag Archives: revitalization

Transforming neighborhoods, building communities

This October marked not only Housing America Month, but also big anniversaries for two of our members: the Warren Housing Authority (R.I.) and Yolo County Housing (Calif.). Each housing authority celebrated by bringing together its residents, elected leaders, colleagues and regional HUD representatives. Sen. Reed _ Housing America Month

On Monday, Oct. 20, the Warren Housing Authority marked its 50th anniversary by recognizing the foresight Warren community leaders had to make a safe, quality, and affordable home for seniors.

“It was 50 years ago that a group of citizens led by Warren’s own Victor Andreozzi approached the town council and asked to form a housing authority,” said Carol Costa, executive director of WHA.  “Today, we celebrate the pioneers who made this possible; the commissioners who guide our vision; the residents who make this place so lively; the administration and staff who make this place tick and the federal, state and town leaders who keep us in business.”

In attendance were Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), State Sen. Walter Felag, Rep. Jan Malik, Rep. Ken Marshall and national housing officials representing NAHRO, New England Regional Council of NAHRO (NERC NAHRO) and Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI).

During the luncheon, WHA received citations recognizing its 50 years of service to the community from Sen. Whitehouse, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate.

Rep. Cicilline_Housing America Month tweet

On Thursday, Oct. 23, Yolo County Housing celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of Riverbend Manor. The property was once a school that closed in 1978 and fell into disrepair. In 1984, it was converted to housing for senior and disabled families. Today, the classrooms have been further updated to provide housing for 63 extremely low-income families. Onsite amenities include a ceramics classroom complete with a kiln, community gardens and a lunch program for senior residents.

California State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead attended the anniversary celebration as well as former students and instructors of the school.  HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead and Lisa Baker _housing america event

NAHRO congratulates both Warren Housing Authority and Yolo County Housing on their years of service to their communities and thanks them for providing safe, quality, and affordable homes for all!

Yolo County Housing

What Affordable Rental Housing Means to Families

By Elva Trevino


I am an eighteen year old girl who happens to be the oldest sibling in the family. I love school, playing with my family, and talking to my mom. I, however, do have a very strong dislike for insecurity, instability, and having to say goodbye to the ones I love the most.  In all honestly, the latter I do not “strongly dislike” as much as I hate.

Life has proven to be a great roller coaster to my family ever since I was small, which may unfortunately be the same for many. My family and I have moved unceasingly, from being in the process of owning our own house to losing that opportunity, moving to another country to living in the countryside, to having to stay with relatives and friends away from parents and siblings. I have never relied on a paternal figure; my mother has been both my mother and father for most of my life. She is also the one that has been carrying the entire financial burden of the family in her shoulders. There was a time in which I lived away from her, and I hated the feeling of leaving her side to get a better life while she struggled in a daily basis to raise my youngest siblings. Six months after we reunited, we finally had a place we could call home.

I have been a resident in Public Housing for five years now. Thanks to this assistance, I have been able to make long lasting friendships, been able to excel in school, volunteer in my community, and help my family financially: things foreign before that point in my life. I would have never imagined myself in such stability back when I was in elementary. Back then all of this would have been a wonderful dream. Today I am grateful to say that this dream has finally become a reality for my family.

I have been able to show exactly “What Home Means to Me” by participating more than once in NAHRO’s poster contest under the same name. My illustrations depict what I find in my home, some things that I lacked while growing up.  “Love, security, knowledge, happiness” and, most importantly, “a place where loved ones await” are words that decorate my illustrations. I hated that time in my life where my mom was not present, where I could not play with all my siblings, which is why I longed for a place where we would safely reside, a place that I could call “home” and affordable rental housing has made that happen.

In two weeks I will be attending Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in order to pursue a career in medicine — away from home, but now by choice. I plan to come back and become a resource to the community that has helped my family greatly. I also wish to help my family financially, help them become self-sufficient, in order to give Edinburg Housing Authority the opportunity to assist another family in need.

Elva Trevino is a two-time national winner of NAHRO’s annual ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest. Her artwork has been displayed on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest – part of the Housing America Campaign – , visit http://www.housingamericacampaign.org/


CDBG Spotlight: A new spring for Burnham’s Field

Once dilapidated, Burnham’s Field in Gloucester, Mass. is getting a dose of new life thanks to funding – plus the efforts of some dedicated community members.

The field had not undergone any major renovations in 30 years.

That all changed when a community group called the Friends of Burnham’s Field decided to pitch in to help revitalize the field. John McElhenny, the group’s founder, said it started three or four months ago with a modest membership of three to five people.

“Now it’s probably up to thirty or forty people who have contacted us and said, ‘I care about Burnham’s Field. I want to be involved too,’” McElhenny says. “There’s really a lot of momentum behind the Friends of Burnham’s Field.”

The community garden, which began in 2011, was one of the first steps to revitalization. McElhenny says the garden has 20 plots. Families get their own plot, where they grow vegetables and flowers. The garden has created a community of people who care about the field, and that has led to more frequent cleanups, removal of graffiti and repairs to the field’s fencing.

More improvements are set to get underway this spring with the help of more than $345,000 in funding from community development block grants, state Department of Environmental Protection funds and contributions from the Community Preservation Committee. McElhenny says the funds will go to two new playgrounds, one for toddlers, and one for older kids; improved lighting; pathways through the field; renovations to the two basketball courts; an area for kids to play in hot weather; and restroom facilities.

McElhenny says he had the support of local politicians in securing funding for the project. Stephen Winslow, senior project manager at Gloucester’s Community Development office, helped organize the grant process. State Senator Bruce Tarr and Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk have also been supportive.

“Burnham’s Field sits in the heart of Downtown Gloucester and serves as a prime spot for play, basketball and pick-up soccer games by hundreds of area youth,” Winslow says. “Neighbors had sounded the alarm that old facilities, lack of lighting, trash and drug use made the field less and less desirable for families. CDBG funding proved invaluable in getting the ball rolling on planning and implementing a park rehabilitation and have resulted in over a 1 to 1 match in state and local funding. Mayor Carolyn Kirk and other local officials will all join with the community on May 3rd to finally break ground on this project that has been 5 years in development and design. ”