We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a Board of Directors comprised of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley Board.
Let’s get to know Richard Kyte, Jr., current Board Chair.
Tell us about yourself.
Hello, my name is Richard Kyte! I am an attorney. I was admitted to practice in 1976 and have been in solo practice since 1989. While I currently live in Warwick, I lived in Burrillville for 39 years. In addition to practicing law, I raised two sons. I was the town solicitor (attorney) and school committee attorney as well as Assistant Municipal Court Judge. In addition I was the vice-president and president of the Burrillville substance abuse council for 14 years—an entity which consisted of a variety of organizations within the town—school officials, non profits, students, etc.
I have successfully represented six different resident
associations in acquiring their mobile home parks! Unfortunately, four others were not so successful.
How long have you served on the board?
I was invited to join the board in 2008-just as the “Great Recession” was beginning to set in. We now know what a “credit default swap” is, as well as subprime mortgages. While there were “adjustments” to the operation, thanks in part to the financial knowledge of other board members and Joe Garlick’s leadership, NWBRV fortunately managed not only to survive but has since thrived.
What inspired you to serve on the NWBRV board?
I felt, given my mobile home park experience, that perhaps I could contribute in some way to advance affordable housing.
What would you like your friends and family to know about NWBRV?
There is a misconception about “affordable housing.” So often our organization has had to “educate” local leaders that affordable housing is different from “subsidized housing.” The financing—mortgage or rent–is income based. NWBRV has assisted many new home buyers in acquiring their first homes and how to maintain them. I think I speak for the board when I believe safe, clean and affordable housing is the keystone to a healthy community.
Can you share something that NWBRV has accomplished during your time on the board that you’re particularly proud of?
The Burrillville developments. Stillwater Mill, Pascoag Redevelopment, Fernwood and Greenridge are projects that demonstrate affordable housing is needed even in relatively rural areas. Furthermore, these projects dispel the “myth” (prejudice) as to who will own or rent these dwellings. It is my understanding that over 65% of the occupants come from the immediate area. But maybe I am less than objective about Burrillville given the fact I lived there for 39 years and was somewhat involved in the community.