Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-19-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NO. SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET | VALLEY BREEZE | NOV. 19-25, 2020 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET 21 21 Island. The average monthly rent pay- ment for a two-bedroom apartment in North Smithfield was $1,516 in 2019, up from $1,313 in 2014. That means someone would need to earn a house- hold income of $60,640 to affordably rent an average-priced two-bedroom apartment. According to the report, only one community, Central Falls, would accommodate a potential home- owner who makes the state's median household income of $63,296. The annual income needed to afford a median-priced home in Central Falls was $49,338 in 2019. In every other community, including Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket, which ranked next on the list, the income needed for a median-priced home is above $63,296. The report also identified the num- ber of residents in each community considered "cost-burdened," which means they spend more than 30 per- cent of their income on housing and utilities. In North Smithfield, 1,375 households, including 56 percent of renters and 23 percent of homeown- ers, are cost-burdened. About 8.2 percent of the units in North Smithfield are considered affordable, with another 92 units required to hit the state's goal of 10 percent affordable housing in each community. By contrast, Woonsocket had the highest percentage of affordable hous- ing units out of any community in Rhode Island, with 15.8 percent of units in Woonsocket considered afford- able. Eighty percent of North Smithfield residents own their own home, accord- ing to the report. The most affordable community to rent in Rhode Island is Burrillville, with an income of $36,240 needed to affordably rent an average-priced two- bedroom apartment. The second- and third-most affordable communities to rent were Smithfield and Woonsocket. According to the report, housing access remains a challenge across Rhode Island, with overall afford- ability low compared with median statewide incomes. The COVID-19 crisis, it said, has worsened the issue, devastating some communities and revealing disparities in housing and economic security. HOMES From Page One and saw the devastation wreaked on his fellow soldiers. "It wasn't a pretty sight, what I saw," he said. When he returned in 1971, he tried to go back to high school and graduate. At the time, Framingham school administrators told him he was too old and directed him to an equivalency program. A decade later, he received his GED certificate from an agency in Worcester, but he never stopped thinking about the high school diploma he didn't have a chance to receive. "They kept asking me why I want- ed to go back to high school and I said, because I want to finish my education," he said. Finally, after years of back-and- forth with school administrators and contacting veterans' agencies, Donnell learned of a clause in school district bylaws that said anyone who left for active military service should have been allowed to return to school when they came home. Even though it had been years since he returned, and the school he attend- ed, Framingham South, doesn't exist anymore – it merged with Framingham North in 1991 – he was eligible to receive a diploma. "I'm the last in my family to get a high school diploma," he said. "My brother and my three sisters all got their high school diploma, and I was the last one to get it." Many years have passed since Donnell first shipped off to military service. He and his wife now live in an apartment in Woonsocket, where the walls are lined with photos of family and friends. Donnell said he had hoped to share the achievement with his parents, but both have since died, his mother in 1990 and his father while he was serving in the Air Force. Instead, he'll be able to display his diploma proudly near their photos and reminders from his military time. "I can only look at the pictures of my mother and father and say, well, I did it. I finally got my diploma," he said. BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM KEVEN DONNELL is now the proud holder of a diploma from Framingham High School nearly 50 years after he left school to serve in the U.S. Air Force. DIPLOMA From Page One YMCA announces free Strong challenge PAWTUCKET – The YMCA of Pawtucket, with locations in Pawtucket, Lincoln and Woonsocket, invites all in the community to par- ticipate in a free six-week Strong challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body. Visit or the Facebook page for details on how to join in. Opt-in to the free challenge by texting STRONG to 855-520-6222. Follow the prompts to sign-up and you will receive three texts a week filled with motivation, challenges, workouts and more. Participants will also be able to attend the Y for one day each week to enjoy swimming, working out and a variety of classes. Everyone in the community is also invited to work out wherever you are, taking free YMCA Facebook Live online classes like Zumba, yoga and HIIT. The complete weekly schedule is available at . Commitment to Quality Dependable Trusted Accurate Inspirational 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865 Phone 401-334-9555 Fax 401-334-9994 Website Making our communities stronger by telling their stories. Please consider supporting The Valley Breeze today – Visit In our 25 years of existence, we've been all of this and more. From the beginning, we've believed that a hyper-local news model is what best serves our readers. The Breeze is free to our readers, and will remain free, but our hope is that those readers with the resources to invest in journalism where they live will choose to take a more active role in this local news success story, joining advertisers in helping to bring it to the people each and every week. Thank you to all who have donated! Your monthly or one-time contributions are greatly appreciated!

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