By Jonathan Bissonnette
Family Gets a New Home in C.F. Through Program
CENTRAL FALLS — On Easter Sunday, Trudy Crespo gave her children a puzzle to piece together. As the children assembled the puzzle, their excitement began to grow. Once completed, it read “We Bought a House!” with an image of the family’s future home at 95 Washington St.
Crespo joined her husband Joaquin Ortiz and their four children Tuesday morning, along with city and state officials, as they cut the ribbon on their four-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s exciting,” Crespo, a first-time homebuyer, said from outside of what was soon to be her family’s new home.
“For me, it was amazing to figure out,” Crespo’s 10-year-old daughter Adaysha said of the puzzle. “My parents had made our dream come true.” Ortiz and Crespo’s four children are
Adaysha, seven-year-old Alicia, six-year-old Adriana, and one-year-old Joaquin.
Ortiz thanked the gathered crowd for the “great turnout. I didn’t expect this much … I’m speechless, I’m honestly not an emotional guy.”
Ortiz earlier this year was one of three graduates who completed the five-year Family Self-Sufficiency program, which was administered by the Central Falls Housing Authority. The program is a comprehensive system designed to promote and teach financial independence to those receiving public assistance and is funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The five- year program equips participants with the tools to move off of public assistance and the program curriculum includes career development consultation, homeownership classes, computer literacy classes, General Educational Development and ESL classes, parenting and preschool classes, financial literacy classes, and health and wellness classes.
Pawtucket- Central Falls Development Corporation Executive Director Linda Weisinger said that the corporation remains committed to community and neighborhood revitalization and Tuesday’s celebration of a new homeowner in the city was proof of that.
The two-story home has 1,500 square feet of living space and the land previously sat vacant after housing a long-abandoned property.
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said that for Central Falls, a city on the comeback and working its way through a rebuild, an event like Tuesday’s was a “momentous occasion.” He additionally said that having family-owned properties would help the city build on its fabric of being a community on the rise in Rhode Island.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien noted the partnership and synergy between his city and Central Falls and further said that there is “a lot of excitement” in Pawtucket as well as the square-mile city.
While Crespo and Ortiz were born in raised in Pawtucket, they are moving to Central Falls. Grebien said that the city of Pawtucket was sorry to lose them but he congratulated the family and wished them the best of luck in their new home.
Rhode Island Housing Executive Director Barbara Fields said Tuesday was a “great day” and noted how valuable it was to keep housing in the state within financial reach of its residents. Fields said it was crucial to ensure that people who live and work in Rhode Island find homes within reach for their families.
District 16 State Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley said that as a lifelong Central Falls resident, it was nice to see the city making a comeback. Crowley further said that residents in the city take pride in their homes, streets, and community and noted that the city needs that kind of innovation and involvement.
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said that housing is central to communities and that ensuring that communities are safe is critical. He said that the day was an example of what it takes to build housing in Rhode Island, adding that it is not about the process but rather it is “about real people who have places to live.”
District 56 State Rep. Shelby Maldonado celebrated the day and the efforts to make it possible for the family, noting that it was valuable for families to stay in their community and in turn invest in those same communities.
Original Story can be found in the 4/2 version of the Pawtucket Times.