(L-R) State of Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Stefan Pryor, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Executive Director of RIHousing Carol Ventura, Executive Director of SWAP, Inc. Carla DeStefano, longtime Jamestown residents Laura, Matt and Bart Totten, Executive Director of Looking Upwards Carrie Miranda, Senator Jack Reed, State of Rhode Island Representative for Jamestown Alex Finkelman and former State of Rhode Island Jamestown Representative Deb Ruggiero.

Jamestown’s 2 Hammett Court Breaks Ground to Provide Inclusive Housing Opportunities

Looking Upwards and its collaborating partner, SWAP, Inc., joined by federal, state, and local officials, marked the beginning of construction today on 2 Hammett Court. This transformative initiative involves repurposing a commercial building into specially designed accessible and affordable apartments in the heart of Jamestown’s downtown.

2 Hammett Court, described as an innovative pilot, is poised to offer new living opportunities for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and other Rhode Islanders, fostering greater independence and community access.

Carrie Miranda, the executive director of Looking Upwards, voiced concerns about the shortage of accessible rental options in Rhode Island, coupled with escalating rental costs, limiting the independence of individuals with disabilities. Miranda expressed gratitude for the support received from the Town of Jamestown and funding and project partners, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to expanding housing options for those with disabilities.

The Hammett Court apartment building, designed by Union Studio, will incorporate universal design features, including braille signage, wheelchair-friendly dimensions, and attention to sensory details. Each apartment unit will offer customizable accessibility features to support residents’ independence in their homes.

SWAP executive director, Carla DeStefano, highlighted the uniqueness of 2 Hammett Court in addressing the multi-dimensional housing crisis in Rhode Island. DeStefano expressed hope that the collaborative model with Looking Upwards could serve as a blueprint for future initiatives in the state.

The $5.1 million-dollar Hammett Court project has garnered support from federal, state, and local officials who recognize the devastating impact of the housing crisis. Senator Jack Reed, a key figure in securing $3.3 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, commended the collaborative efforts to address the growing problem of accessible and affordable homes for those with disabilities.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse emphasized the importance of American Rescue Plan funding in alleviating housing costs for Rhode Island families, echoing the commitment of Rhode Island officials, including Governor Dan McKee and House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi, to prioritize affordable housing.

House Speaker Shekarchi celebrated the construction kickoff, acknowledging the urgent need for more housing in Rhode Island, particularly in challenging areas like Aquidneck and Conanicut Islands. He expressed hope that the model of integrating supportive affordable housing into communities would be replicated.

Secretary of Housing Stefan Pryor and RIHousing CEO Carol Ventura praised the collaborative efforts showcased in the development of 2 Hammett Court. Ventura highlighted the repurposing of preexisting buildings and the utilization of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to add affordable homes to Jamestown.

Long-time Jamestown residents, including Bart Totten, expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support from the community. Totten shared excitement about the prospect of the Hammett Court initiative, envisioning independent living for his son near his workplace and close to friends and family.

Jamestown town planner Lisa Bryer acknowledged the thriving presence of Looking Upwards and Bridges in the community for over three decades. The town looks forward to continued collaboration as Looking Upwards develops 12 new units in the village.

The majority of units at 2 Hammett Court will offer affordable rents to those with annual incomes of 30% of the adjusted median income. The application process details will be announced in the near future, marking a significant step towards providing inclusive and accessible housing options for Rhode Islanders.




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