NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, the Woonsocket Housing Authority, and their partners will execute grassroots efforts to revitalize the public housing at Veterans Memorial Housing and transform the Our Neighborhoods Planning District neighborhood in Woonsocket, RI as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Choice Neighborhoods Program.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley is one of 17 entities from across the U.S. receiving a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in FY2012. The funding provides the community with the resources they need to craft comprehensive, community-driven plans to revitalize public or other HUD-assisted housing and transform distressed neighborhoods.
HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with necessary services for the people who live there – including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.
Neighborhood Boundaries and Mapping
View a map of the Our Neighborhoods Planning District here.
Learn more about the services currently offered within the community in our Resident Resource Guide.
Sample of Planning Grant Activities
- At the beginning of March, NWBRV, WHA, and their partners met with H.U.D. representatives to review the project, tour the neighborhood, and prepare for the next year of planning.
- NWBRV posted two job descriptions to hire support staff for this effort.
- NWBRV posted a call for Partners and Consultants.
- Neighborhood-wide surveying began in April of 2013. Surveys were sent to a randomly selected pool of families to assess quality-of-life. NWBRV also began work to survey conditions of neighborhood blocks and a sample of properties in the neighborhood as part of this work. Surveying is expected to be complete by August of 2013.
- Consultants are selected to help run the planning process. Shane Culliton is selected as the Project Management Consultant and Betty Virella was selected to serve as the Project Assistant Consultant. Both began work on the project in May of 2013. Update: Shane left the organization in March of 2014.
- Steering Committee members [made up of Veteran’s Memorial tenants, neighborhood residents, project grantees and partnering organizations] are invited participate in the planning process. The group will play an integral part in the planning process and will meet monthly from 9:30 am – 11:00 am on the 2nd Wednesday of every month starting in July.
- Surveying of Veteran’s Memorial tenants began in August of 2013.
- Tenants and Residents gave feedback on neighborhood and development design and use as part of several design charettes held throughout the summer months. Riverzedge Arts assisted in coordinating a special yard charette that solicited feedback on outdoor design elements. Over 200 families attended throughout the course of the summer.
- Over 20 Steering Committee Members, including 9 residents from Veteran’s Memorial, attended a tour of transformation projects in Boston to get a better idea of what a process like Choice Neighborhoods entails over the long-term.
- A request for qualifications goes out to private developers across the country interested in working on the project.
- Tour of private developer’s local properties as part of decision making process.
- Resident meeting in May to review draft of the Transformation Plan and map out strategies most supported by residents.
To get in touch with Woonsocket’s Choice Neighborhoods Planning Team, please contact Margaux Morisseau at 401-762-0993 ext.233.