NAFI Rhode Island, the nonprofit agency that provides juvenile justice, mental and behavioral health and family support programs, is working on a project to renovate and upgrade its Main Street Group Home in historic Warren.
“We realize our neighbors in Warren value the historic nature of the property and have concerns about the condition of the exterior, including the architecturally notable front porch and 19th-century windows now boarded up because of safety concerns,” said Cindy Livsey, Director of Operations for NAFI RI. “We have completed interior renovations to improve the living spaces for our residents, and work has now begun on the porch.”
In addition to refurbishing the porch, NAFI RI will have the house painted, and then work with the Warren Voluntary Historic District Commission to determine the best solution for the period windows, which have custom-made glass and framing. Replicating the historic windows is prohibitively expensive, and they are temporarily boarded over for safety reasons because the glass is broken and the framing detached.
“It will be a long process,” cautioned Karen Cox, Program Director of the Main Street Group Home. “They started the porch, but it’s on hold because the wood was so rotted they’ll have to remake one of the columns.”
The group home is located in the circa 1845 J.M. Peck House. According to the Warren Waterfront Historic District description of the property, the Greek Revival house is notable for its “2-story semi-octagonal bay window on the façade flanked by a Colonial Revival-porch with paired Tuscan columns on plinths and a lozenge-pane window adjacent to the front door.” Also notable is the window on the flushboard pediment lighting the attic story.
The building was owned by St. Mary of the Bay Parish when NAFI RI first established the group home there in the late 1980s. After renting the building from the church for 18 years, NAFI RI purchased it in 2008 and completed an initial set of upgrades that included addressing water damage and mold in the basement, building a new rear porch to address safety issues, renovating bathrooms, and replacing piping and fixtures.
“We understand the community may not realize how long we’ve been working on the house and we share the desire to have the exterior improvements completed as soon as possible,” Livsey said.
“Throughout the process of making improvements we have tried to be collaborative,” added Tracey Pearson, Director of Residential Services for NAFI RI. “We have good community connections and Karen and her team do good community work.”
The Main Street Group Home, which has 24-hour on-site staff, supports young men in acquiring the skills necessary to move forward toward independence. The NAFI RI team takes pride in providing a home environment to youth moving into self-sufficiency.
Residents usually step down from more restrictive programs and learn to manage their behavioral health issues as they prepare to make their way in the community. They may attend local public schools, undertake employment while pursuing a GED, or be involved in vocational or higher education.
Program staff provide guidance and support to residents in securing ID’s, drivers licenses, using public transportation, applying for jobs and post-secondary education, and increasing awareness of personal responsibility.
Residents participate in many NAFI/RI events, including Project Turkey, the prom, the annual talent show, and summer football league, and are involved in several local community service activities.
Anyone seeking additional information on the project to complete exterior improvements to the Main Street Group Home may email Cindy Livsey at CindyLivsey@nafi.com.
About NAFI RI
NAFI has been operating residential, foster care and community based programs in Rhode Island since 1989, and in 2004, NAFI RI grew into a comprehensive network of nine programs, serving adolescents and adults with an overarching mission of creating diverse and innovative services for people.
NAFI RI includes juvenile justice, mental and behavioral health and family support programs. In 2016 NAFI RI joined forces with NAFI CT to create a multi-state, multi-service agency serving southern New England. To learn more, see the website at nafiri.org.