State Senator Joe Robach along with Interfaith Action leader John Smith recently announced a $400,000 housing grant for the Historic Jones Square Neighborhood. NCS Community Development Corporation and Providence Housing Development Corporation will rehab four properties that have a combined six residential units. The announcement took place on the lawn of 64 Lozier Street, the first property rehabbed under the grant. NCS, which is doing the rehab, has already secured a buyer for the house.
This project represents Phase One of an effort to refurbish the housing stock in the neighborhood. It follows years of successful community organizing where the City West Catholic Community, an Interfaith Action member, worked with residents, city agencies and community groups to address problems such as prostitution, drug dealing, blighted housing and a run-down city park.
“I want to applaud Interfaith Action and everyone who has been involved in this project,” said Robach. “You know, it’s really these people who should get the credit.”
According to resident Tony Davis, the approach worked. “We took the bad out and put the good back into our neighborhood,” he explained.
Recently, Interfaith Action congregations and residents have participated in citywide community clean-ups. Neighborhood groups have been pushing for upgrades to place Jones Park, which was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. Just weeks ago, the city installed a surveillance camera that has successfully reduced prostitution in the park.