PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State and local leaders gathered Monday to celebrate the development of 79 new affordable housing units for families in Providence.

Gov. Dan McKee, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and housing officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Joseph Caffey Apartments and Jordan Caffey Townhomes on Portland Street.

The project is part of an effort to provide more affordable housing to Rhode Islanders, with the new homes serving households earning 50-80% of the area’s median income. In addition, 16 households earning below 30% of the median income will be given a rental subsidy.

“This is a tribute to an extraordinary gentleman,” Reed said of Caffey. “Joe devoted himself to other people, to making sure that they had affordable housing, they had a place to stay, and there’s no more of a noble endeavor than that.”

Reed also said the new development will be energy efficient and feature central laundry, a community meeting space, and onsite management.

“This is going to be an incredibly important development here in Providence,” he added.

McKee said projects like this will lead to increased opportunities and success for the whole community.

While state Rep. Anastasia Williams said the project is a step in the right direction, she believes more can and should be done for Providence families.

“It doesn’t stop here,” she said. “This is a beginning, but the true and real struggle has not been addressed. And we can do better. We need to do better, and that we can do together.”

The construction project is scheduled to be completed in about two years and will cost approximately $28 million.