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HousingWorks RI issues report on the benefits of housing bonds

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Rhode Island’s per capita investment for affordable homes, at $21.90, is far below that of our New England neighbors (MA, $100.88; CT, $95.78). We must make the necessary investments today, to ensure a prosperous future for Rhode Island and its residents.


From a press release:

HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University today released Building Homes Rhode Island Status Report: Years of Accomplishments, an issue brief highlighting the work of Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI), which has supported the production and preservation of over 3,200 homes in Rhode Island. Commissioned by RIHousing, the brief takes a deeper dive into BHRI’s investments, and how they are making a real impact in Rhode Island communities by expanding housing opportunities, creating jobs, and revitalizing our local economy.

Funded by three voter-approved housing bonds, Building Homes Rhode Island has committed $125 million to economic development and sustainability in Rhode Island. In addition to production and preservation, this figure also includes the revitalization of residential, commercial, and public space.

“The report highlights the critical role Building Homes Rhode Island funding has played in expanding housing opportunities for Rhode Islanders, while also creating good jobs and revitalizing our economy,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Development partners have been able to utilize these funds to leverage over $650 million in additional investments to develop homes that Rhode Islanders can afford. These activities create significant economic benefits for the state, serving as an engine for growth, employment and spending on local goods and services.”

Housing bonds are a critical component of the state’s investment in long-term affordable homes, in which we’ve seen the success first hand throughout the state. With BHRI investment in nearly every Rhode Island municipality, and nearly half of BHRI-financed homes having been created in communities that have not yet met their goal of 10% long-term affordable homes, BHRI is creating these homes where they are most needed.

“While this report showcases the important work being done to provide housing opportunities for all Rhode Islanders, it also tells us that the need for long-term affordable housing continues to grow,” said Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University. “Rhode Island’s per capita investment for affordable homes, at $21.90, is far below that of our New England neighbors (MA, $100.88; CT, $95.78). We must make the necessary investments today, to ensure a prosperous future for Rhode Island and its residents.”


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Although Building Homes Rhode Island Status Report: Years of Accomplishments showcases the great work of housing investment, there is more to be done in order to advance housing affordability as a public policy priority. Recently released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Out of Reach report shows that affordable rental housing continues to elude Rhode Islanders. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford a home at Fair Market Rent (FMR). According to Out of Reach, the “housing wage” in Rhode Island (i.e., what one needs to earn to affordably rent a modest two-bedroom apartment), is $21.16, while the average renter wage is $14.21. This gap significantly limits where Rhode Islanders can afford a safe, secure, and healthy place to call home.

A panel discussion, moderated by Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University and Kennedy Tate, Homes RI Community Organizer, of the Housing Network of Rhode Island, was held today to discuss the findings from National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach Report, and what we in Rhode Island can do to advance housing, economic, and racial justice. Panelists included: Wilson Flores, Providence Community Health Centers; Ayana Melvan, Educational Initiatives and Lead for the Rhode Island Afterschool Network, United Way of Rhode Island; Shirley X Moore, Be Moore Interpreting and The Rail; and Wilma Smith, Voices of Homelessness, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

You can watch the video here:
Out of Reach Panel

Posted by Homes RI on Tuesday, July 28, 2020
HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University is the state’s premiere source for accurate, timely, and easy to understand data on housing affordability in Rhode Island. HousingWorks RI began in 2004 as a campaign to educate the public and business community about a rapidly emerging economic development problem: the lack of affordable housing options for the state’s workforce. Today, HousingWorks RI identifies best practices, conducts research, and analyzes data to support policy recommendations, public education strategies, and communications initiatives. Through publications like the annual Housing Fact Book, Special Reports, Issue Briefs, and cutting-edge Infographics, HousingWorks RI educates stakeholders and works to build consensus around the connection between housing and economic development.