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Hennedy Lauded for Affordable Housing Work

"Many young people have been able to enrich our community with their contributions, whether or not their incomes are as commendable as their characters," Hennedy told the Town Council.

Marie Hennedy, at left, is commended for her service on the Affordable Housing Commission on Monday.
Marie Hennedy, at left, is commended for her service on the Affordable Housing Commission on Monday.
The East Greenwich Town Council on Monday lauded Marie Hennedy, a fixture on town issues and president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, for her time served on the Affordable Housing Commission.

Hennedy was gracious and thankful as she accepted the commendation, but she said she's even prouder of her time working for the East Greenwich Housing Authority from 1975 to 1985, a time when the town was in a different place, with more section 8 rent subsidies than the entire city of Providence.

"Many young people have been able to enrich our community with their contributions, whether or not their incomes are as commendable as their characters," Hennedy told the council.

Town Council President Michael B. Isaacs read a commendation thanking Hennedy for her five years on the commission and gave her a certificate on behalf of the town and the Town Council to mark the occasion.

Hennedy said that she believes in affordable housing because "the opposite of poverty is justice."

"We pledge 'and justice for all'," she said to the council, "and it's your job to rig the system. Not so that the wealthy people can thrive, but so everyone can thrive and I heartily endorse all you have been doing to back affordable housing in East Greenwich."

The state-mandate that each community must have 10 percent of its housing stock deemed affordable has been a tricky issue for some towns, especially the waterfront communities in South County and in East Bay.

Hennedy said she is proud to say that such a mandate exists but warned that the means to get there can be problematic, or misguided.

She referred to the 10 townhouse apartment plan on South County Trail that would put a dent in the town's affordable housing goals in terms of numbers, but flies in the face of the true intent of the mandate, which is to ensure people of all incomes get to live throughout the town.

"It's on a half acre, there are 10 units and eight have three bedrooms," Hennedy said. "They're needed, no doubt, but that's not the ideal affordable housing."

She referenced "compatible affordable housing" that other towns like Barrington have implemented. And there's inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to include affordable units as part of any development consisting of 2 or 3 or more units. 

And affordable projects that have been built include deed provisions that they remain affordable for 99-years — "an awful good program," Hennedy said.

"It has been slow going but god willing that's about to change," she said. 
Mark Thompson February 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Marie Hennedy was fighting the good (housing) fight when I was in EG, nearly 40 years ago. The town is blessed to have her as a champion of the little guy.
Marie C. Hennedy February 28, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Wow, Patch people.... How come you get commended when you run out of steam and quit? So, on second thought, I've applied for an opening on the EG Housing Authority. Oh, and I'm delighted still to be a member of the West Bay League of Women Voters (since 1968), but its current president is Helen Taylor.

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