A Providence College student is hoping his documentary will make a difference to people living in some of the worst neighborhoods in the state. The 20 minute film is called "Restoring Smith Hill" and sheds light on the need for affordable housing.
Smith Hill isn't the only community in Rhode Island with boarded up homes and foreclosed properties. Because of a run down economy, you can find dilapidated, abandoned homes in almost any city or town in the state. But Smith Hill was one of the hardest hit during the foreclosure crisis. Which is why J. Henry Smith chose to focus his film here.
"Smith Hill in many ways is a blighted neighborhood," he said.
As an undergrad at Providence College, Smith produced a 5 minute film on the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation and their revitalization project. That turned into a bigger documentary in his masters business program.
Smith's father, Francis, is executive director of the Smith Hill CDC.
"It's about the people, it's about all the people that it takes to make a project like this successful. and it's all about the people who see the end result and end up living in these homes," said Smith.
The documentary explains the project that bought 25 foreclosed homes, restored them, and placed qualified people in them.
J. Smith said, "it allowed me to see that for the majority of people who are searching for an affordable and safe place to live are in that situation through no fault of their own."
The CDC has restored 160 affordable homes in the Smith Hill community and there are hundreds more in need of a facelift. They hope the film will give them the attention they need for more funding to keep bettering the community.
Next month Providence College will be announcing a hefty donation for the CDC to support the effort of improving the college's surrounding neighborhoods.