West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation was founded in the 1970s by a group of residents committed to improving housing conditions and creating home ownership opportunities in Providence’s West End. Using federal funds, this hard-working group built several new homes for first-time homeowners. After a sabattical, the group re-organized in 1986, and has been moving forward as WEHDC ever since.
The agency has a history of partnerships with groups, agencies and businesses. Community clean-ups and beautification programs were conducted with the Indo-Chinese Advocacy Project and Keep Providence Beautiful. Residents were trained and certified in Crime Prevention. Neighborhood marches and block associations were formed. Senior citizen tenant patrols were organized. Residents from the Armory District and the abutting Elmwood sections worked jointly with us on quality of life concerns. A neighborhood guaranteed loan program was funded through the City of Providence in collaboration with Citizens Bank. In cooperation with the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ and the West End Foundation, a two year substance abuse prevention program, Young Voices was implemented. Members of the Young Voices have since come back and volunteered as adults developing another set of young adult leaders. An annual neighborhood festival, Unity in the Community, is a cosponsorship of various groups, agencies, businesses and elected officials which continued since 1980 until 1995.
Over the years, the agency grew and changed, and has won many national designations as well as honors and awards. It became a founding member of the Housing Network of Rhode Island, a charter member of NeighborWorks® America in 1998, a member of the Fund for Community Progress in 1999, and the first full cycle lender in the state of Rhode Island in 1999. In 2001, WEHDC was acknowledged by the federal government as a Community Development Financial Institution. In 2006, WEHDC became a non-profit Mortgage Broker.