The Meadows in North Smithfield, RI has won a 2009 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Senior Housing category.

Photo Courtesy of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

The Meadows, located in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, was created to address a critical shortage of affordable rental housing for the area’s senior population.  Demand for affordable senior housing in this area is at such a high level that the local housing authority has the longest waiting list in all of northern Rhode Island.  The 80 units provided through The Meadows present more seniors the opportunity to remain in the area and to age in place with dignity and support. 

Developed by NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, The Meadows is one of the first senior housing developments to take advantage of modifications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 202 program by leveraging Housing Credits with a section 202 capital grant.  The Meadows’ complicated financing makes it the first senior housing development approved under the HUD “mixed-finance” program in the Northeast and the first project in the national to receive a waiver for a mixed-finance project.  In addition to $6,433,000 in Housing Credits, syndicated by National Equity Fund, Inc., The Meadows’ financing structure also included a $17.5 million construction loan from Citizens Bank and $16 million in tax-exempt bond financing.  Another $525 in Community Development Block Grant Funds from North Smithfield and $1.2 million in soft financing from the State of Rhode Island Building Home program was also included. 

All of the 80 units located at The Meadows are handicap accessible or adaptable and are available to individuals 62 years or older.  Sixty-six percent of the units are available to individuals earning less than 50 percent or less of area median income.  The remaining 34 percent are available to those earning between 50 and 60 percent of area median income. 

The Meadows makes use of numerous green technologies. A geothermal heating/cooling system allows the property to operate 30 percent more efficiently than properties using gas furnaces. A $500,000 grant from NeighborWorks America was utilized to purchase Energy Star rated appliances and Hardiplank siding.  The property also offers a 2,500 square foot community center, café, wellness center, library, and computer center. 

Partnerships developed with the Grey Panthers, Home Front Nursing Service, and Senior Services make it possible for residents to receive services important to an aging senior population.  Nurse visits, on-site meal programs, senior employment programs, and educational and wellness activities allow senior residents to remain active participants at the Meadows and in their surrounding community. 

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