Forty-four more units of affordable housing are underway in Coventry.
Construction started in January on the new units that will be behind Dollar Tree and Hyde Music on Tiogue Avenue.
Entrance to Coventry Meadows will be on Edith Street, off of Arnold Road.
Edith Street will be continued and loop around right inside the new Coventry Meadows complex.
It will be a six-building complex and the first building is now nearing completion.
The affordable housing units are being built by Coventry Housing Associates Corporation, more commonly known as the Coventry Housing Authority.
Coventry Housing was started in 1963 “to provide housing opportunities to low-income households for the citizens of the Town of Coventry,” according to their website.
The money for this new project was awarded at the end of 2010.
Coventry Housing’s executive director, Julie A. Leddy, said when they applied for the funding the fact that they were “ready to go” was in their favor.
Work started the Monday after New Year’s Day, she said.
The main utilities for all of the buildings will be tied into the first building. That building will hold a Community Hall and laundry facilities for the whole complex.
It will be completed first and then they will go building-by-building to complete the other housing units.
The foundations of the other five buildings have already been laid.
Inside the main building that houses the Community Hall, there will also be four housing units.
When it is completed they will begin filling those units.
As they complete each of the other buildings, which will house eight units each, they too will be filled with tenants.
All the site work should be done, Leddy said, allowing them to “work our way out.”
They’ll start with the buildings closest to the main building, she said.
By September, they hope to have the first units ready.
The units will have one, two or three bedrooms.
Leddy explained how each unit will have its own entrance and there will be no hallways to walk through.
It will be built right into the grade, she said, that the units, though two-levels, can be accessed at ground level on each side.
Residents will drive right up to their own unit, she said.
There will also be a separate patio outside of each one, she said.
Coventry Housing has other units for the elderly or disabled and these units, though the same individuals could apply for them, are more suited for family housing, Leddy said.
Coventry Meadows will have a totally separate waiting list than The Crossroads, Coventry Housing’s other family-style affordable housing complex.
The Crossroads is located on Lacolle Lane in Coventry and has been at full occupancy since it opened. It is a 32-unit facility opened by Coventry Housing in 2003.
Leddy expects many of those on The Crossroads waiting list to apply to live in Coventry Meadows.
According to Leddy, only 5.3 percent of the 12,861 year-round housing units in Coventry are affordable. These new units will increase that percentage, Leddy said.
“Those figures just are not enough to assist the families on our waiting lists looking for an affordable place to call home,” Leddy said.
Leddy said The Crossroads has 400 people on their waiting list and she thinks this new housing complex will “really put a nice dent” in that.
“They look to us,” Leddy said about the town of Coventry, in providing affordable housing.
One-hundred percent of the units in Coventry Meadows are going to be affordable, she said, versus building a complex with mixed units.
She said they held a lot of meetings with the town right up front and often sit down and discuss ideas. It is “a very cooperative relationship,” she said.
Leddy said the general contractor, Stand Corporation, has been using local business owners throughout the project, for everything from tree work to the clearing of the site.
Working with local business owners is “good for everyone in the community,” Leddy said.
Though Stand Corporation is from Warwick, Leddy said they have ties to Coventry.
The architect for the project is John Robinson of Robinson Design Inc., of Smithfield.
Financing for the project is in five layers, Leddy said, coming from Rhode Island Housing, the Low Income Tax Credit program, BuildingHome Rhode Island funds from the Housing Resource Commission, HOME funds and the Community Development Block Grant funds.
Leddy said, “We have led this community in providing affordable housing opportunities, we actively assist the Town of Coventry in meeting its goals and there is no greater accomplishment but when we turn the keys over of a new home to a family in need.”