Warwick, RI—Senator Jack Reed attended the non-profit Rhode Island Student Loan Authority’s (RISLA) College Planning Center of Rhode Island's long-awaited reopening at the Warwick Mall on November 22, 2010.
The College Planning Center was forced to close its doors in March 2010, and temporarily relocate to the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority’s main office on Jefferson Blvd, Warwick, RI, because of the historic floods. “It’s a welcoming relief to have our College Planning Center of Rhode Island’s office return to the Warwick Mall.
"Our staff, our students, and our families have been waiting for this day for almost eight months. We will be ready just in time to again help thousands of students and families achieve their higher education dreams,” says Charles P. Kelley, Executive Director, RISLA.
Rhode Island state dignitaries, RISLA staff members, students and families, as well as the Warwick community at-large will participate in this reopening celebration on November 22, 2010, Warwick, Mall, 2:00 P.M. Senator Jack Reed will cut the ribbon on the College Planning Center of RI’s newly remodeled Warwick Mall office.
“The Warwick Mall is where we first launched the College Planning Center of RI, and we are grateful for everyone who has helped us return to our original roots,” says David DeBlois, Director at the College Planning Center of RI. The CPCRI was established in 1998 by the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority’s Board of Directors in response to the growing demand for college education and skyrocketing tuition costs. Families saw great value in a college education but affordability was just as much of an issue as it is now.
Providence, R.I.– U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin, Congressman-elect David Cicilline and Rhode Island
Housing announced today the launch of Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI), a new program to prevent avoidable foreclosures by assisting homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a documented financial hardship. In all, the U.S.
Treasury made available to Rhode Islanders $80 million to help those at risk of losing their homes.
“This is both a tremendous challenge and opportunity and I know Rhode Island Housing has worked hard to get this program up and running. I am committed to ensuring the state has the resources and assistance it needs to help families and neighborhoods and get our economy back on track. I expect Rhode Island Housing to push forward with this program and target these funds to prevent foreclosures and help Rhode Island recover from the housing crisis,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
During the announcement at the John Hope Settlement House, located in Providence, a community hard hit by foreclosures, its President and CEO Peter Lee publicized that the John Hope Settlement House, located at 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 p.m., will host the first of a series of public meetings to inform the public about HHFRI. For a complete listing of community meetings, visit www.HHFRI.org.
“This recession hit Rhode Island earlier and harder than most states, and our foreclosure crisis continues to be the worst in New England,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon
Whitehouse. “Too many families needlessly face foreclosure due to uncooperative loan servicers and bureaucratic red tape, and I'm pleased that our efforts have resulted in this program to help many families avoid the unnecessary tragedy of losing their home.”
Additional public meetings have been scheduled for Sat., Nov. 20, at 11 a.m., at the Buttonwoods Community Center, 3027 West Shore Rd., Warwick; and on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the John F. Deering Middle School, 2 Webster Knight Dr., West Warwick.
“In Rhode Island, we were hit early and hard by the housing crisis. We currently have the fifth highest unemployment rate, and Rhode Islanders have struggled with mortgage payments due to the loss of jobs,” said U.S. Representative Langevin. “This fund will bring help and relief to our homeowners and stabilize our housing market.”
On Nov. 1, lenders and specially certified housing counselors started processing applications from Providence homeowners who have a documented financial hardship such as job loss or underemployment. By Dec. 1, applications from homeowners statewide will be accepted. For a complete listing of counselors and lenders, visit www.HHFRI.org.
There are two ways to apply for HHFRI assistance. They are either through the lender if it is a Rhode Island-based bank or credit union or via a HUD approved and HHFRI certified counselor such as the Rhode Island Housing HelpCenter.
Assistance will address Rhode Islanders’ unique situation but it generally breaks down into the following areas:
? Help to obtain a loan modification from your lender.
? Help to make mortgage payments while unemployed.
? Help to make an immediate payment to save your home, such as unpaid property taxes.
? Help to assist homeowners who are in a severe financial crisis to relocate.
“We have the responsibility to do everything in our power to help families hit hard by the recession and mortgage crisis hold onto their homes,” said Congressman-elect David Cicilline. “This program will give families on the brink of losing their homes valuable assistance when they need it the most.”
Rhode Island Housing has been designated by the Treasury to oversee the Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island. The agency will be processing, approving and administering the submissions from lenders, servicers and specially trained HHFRI certified counselors.
“The funding for Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island means we are able to bring relief to a large spectrum of Rhode Islanders who are in danger of losing their home," said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “The purpose of this program is to prevent foreclosures by helping homeowners who have a documented financial hardship that has affected their ability to make a mortgage payment.”
HHFRI is intended to complement existing federal and lender programs, and will only be available to Rhode Islanders who have exhausted all other options and do not own any other real estate. The HHFRI program will vary but generally will be in the form of either a loan modification from lenders or assistance with mortgage payments.
For more information on the Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island, visit www.HHFRI.org.
Thomas Wilbur Homestead Ribbon Cutting
On November 8th, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Representative Jim Langevin joined House of Hope CDC, Rhode Island Housing and their community partners for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Thomas Wilbur Homestead.
Originally a Baptist meeting house established in 1744, the Thomas Wilbur Homestead, which was designed to preserve the historic character of the property, now offers five families permanent homes and supportive services such as case management, benefits assistance and life skills classes. Located at 3188 Post Rd. in Warwick, the property also includes the House of Hope CDC’s administrative offices and headquarters.
A carriage house that was already on the property was rehabilitated and converted into two single-bedroom apartments. In addition, a new building was constructed on the site which consists of three two-bedroom apartments. Each of these apartments incorporates universal design, and focuses on comfort, function and accommodating disabilities. The lower level apartments have been retrofitted to include all necessary ADA adaptations.
The Wilbur Homestead was made possible through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 8-11 Program.
November 4, 2010
For every 2 pounds of coffee a guest purchased between November 1-14, Dunkin Donuts donated one pound of coffee to the troops.
Senator Reed Speaks at RI Mentor Partnership Event, November 4, 2010.
This afternoon, Senator Jack Reed joined with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin, RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis and Governor Donald Carcieri and Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle to break ground on a new bridge on I-95 designed to revitalize the gateway to the City of Pawtucket. A ceremony, held at the closed on-ramp from George Street to I-95, served to officially kick off the Pawtucket River Bridge Replacement Project.
“For Rhode Island to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a 21st century infrastructure system. Over the past eight years, we have aggressively addressed the need to replace and repair our roads and bridges along key transportation routes, from the completion of Route 403 and the Iway to the construction of the Sakonnet River Bridge and today’s groundbreaking,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “We have made great improvements to the state’s infrastructure and enhanced the ease of moving goods and services to and from Rhode Island.”
Through this project, RIDOT plans to replace the aging Pawtucket River Bridge that dates back to 1958 and carries I-95 over Taft Street and the Pawtucket River. Three separate structures will be built: a bridge to carry I-95 Northbound; a bridge to carry I-95 Southbound; and a bridge on which the on and off ramps to George and School Streets will be located.
“Innovative construction staging will allow us to maintain all travel lanes throughout construction posing a minimal impact to the motoring public,” said Lewis. “Our innovative bidding process will also provide us with the shortest possible construction period at the best price.”
In addition, RIDOT will make some intersection improvements along George Street and Marrin Street, and the Department will also rehabilitate three additional bridges: the Garden Street Bridge, the Pine Street Bridge and the George Street Bridge.
Recognizing the significance of this project, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin secured additional funding to advance it. Through both Senate and House bills, the delegation secured a $2.26 million federal appropriation to help repair the bridge. They had also secured $1.9 million for the bridge in 2009.
“The Pawtucket River Bridge is a critical link for Rhode Islanders and our nation’s interstate highway system. I am pleased to have secured federal funding to help replace this bridge so it can be opened to all traffic. This is a smart investment that will improve safety, ease traffic congestion, create jobs, and get our economy moving again,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
“This project to restore the Pawtucket River Bridge will help ease the strain on Rhode Islanders’ daily commute, generate local construction jobs, and keep this important artery safe and strong for years to come,” said Whitehouse. “I was proud to work with our delegation to obtain federal funding for the project and I will continue working to support improvements in our state’s transportation infrastructure.”
“Many drivers are reminded daily of the urgent need for a new bridge,” said Langevin. “I am so pleased to have worked in Washington with my colleagues to secure this funding so construction may begin, making one of our state’s major thoroughfares safe for all vehicles.”
Pawtucket Mayor Doyle and his design committee, created decorative pylons in an Art Deco style to replicate design elements at Pawtucket City Hall. The bridge will also include some decorative LED accent lighting.
“I am very pleased with the cooperation between the city’s Bridge Design Committee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Furthermore, I am relieved that the new design will eliminate the long existing problem created by the short distance between the George Street on ramp and the School Street off ramp,” said Mayor Doyle.
The current 18-ton posting is expected to be removed by Spring 2012. A $106 million contract with S&R/Pihl, Inc., a Joint Venture, sets the project completion date at Summer 2013.
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