Keys to Their Dreams

In 2018, Smith Hill Community Development Corporation completed the rehabilitation of a single-family home. Jessica*, John*, and their children had been renters in the Smith Hill neighborhood for more than 15 years. With a growing family, Jessica and John needed to find an affordable apartment that could be big enough for their children, but were having trouble doing so. Needing help, Jessica came to the Smith Hill CDC in the hopes of switching from renter to homeowner.  

Jessica wanted to continue to raise her family in Smith Hill, a neighborhood where she felt embraced. With the help of home buyer education classes, Santander Bank, and resources like City of Providence’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance program, Jessica and her family were handed the keys to their very own home by the Smith Hill CDC.

As an organization, the Smith Hill CDC’s mission is to provide quality, affordable housing options. We hope to connect community members to the home or apartment they desire and deserve. We offer a variety of housing options that give renters, homeowners, and landlords the keys to their dreams. It was wonderful to complete the renovations on this unit and welcome Jessica and John’s family into their home!  

*Names have been changed for the privacy of the individuals

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Making Smith Hill Her Home

In 2000, Ivy Martinez and her two young sons Andre and Carlos moved into a newly renovated apartment at 306 Douglas Avenue. She was a single mom raising her boys the best she could. She worked hard while her boys attended school and enjoyed the neighborhood. The then executive director, Ed Neubauer was working with Rhode Island School of Design students to design modular homes to be built in Smith Hill. One of them was to be placed on a lot located at 171 Chad Brown Street. After a conversation with her eldest son who asked, “Mommy why don’t we have our own house”? , Ivy explained to Andre that they did. But Andre insisted it wasn’t their own since they live above and below other people. He wanted his own home.

At the same time, the CDC was soliciting community members to buy homes. Ivy was approached about the possibility of buying the house. She insisted that she could not buy a house at this time in her life. The CDC worked with Ivy through training classes and exploring city resources. Eventually, she learned that she could indeed buy the house. For the next six months she watched the progression of the construction from her bedroom window. Ivy was engaged in the progress and was an integral part of the design process. By choosing window styles, paint colors, counter top and floor finishes, she was empowered with this process, never realizing that this dream of home ownership would occur so quickly.

On June 2, 2002, Ivy, Andre and Carlos turned the key to the front door of their own home. Today, Ivy, Andre, Carlos, and her husband still enjoy their home. As the CDC has expanded its services to the community, Carlos, now 18, continues to be engaged with the community by being employed during the summer with our young adult Stewardship program.