Yes On 3, a statewide campaign urging Rhode Island voters to support the passage of Question 3, the $65 million Housing and Community Opportunity bond on the March 2, 2021 special election ballot, was launched today.
“With so many Rhode Islanders struggling with the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding safe, affordable housing is more important than ever,” said Cortney Nicolato, President and CEO of United Way of RI. “By investing in housing opportunities for all Rhode Islanders we can address a housing shortage crisis that’s holding our economy back. Voting Yes on Question 3 will support the construction and rehabilitation of homes and apartments that Rhode Island workers, families, seniors, and veterans can afford.”
Funding from past housing bonds in Rhode Island have created over 3,200 affordable homes and apartments for families, seniors, and veterans in 34 communities across the state. More affordable homes and apartments, advocates say, are desperately needed.
“If a Rhode Island household is earning $34,000 or less, just under the state’s median renter income, there isn’t a single city or town in our state where they can afford an average-priced two-bedroom apartment,” said Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI. “Our state’s significant lack of affordable homes and apartments is hurting families, our economy, and our communities. Voting Yes on Question 3 is a vote for more safe, stable, and affordable homes that are critical to the health of Rhode Islanders and the future of our state, particularly as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Beyond renter affordability, the ability for many Rhode Islanders to afford purchasing a home is limited. Based on 2019 median single family home prices, a household earning the state’s median household income of $63,000 would be able to affordably buy a home in just one of Rhode Island’s cities and towns.
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“An affordable place to live isn’t a luxury, it’s essential. Homes need to be within the financial reach of Rhode Island’s workforce so our local employers can attract and retain workers, grow their businesses, and grow our economy,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Voting Yes on Question 3 will also generate good paying jobs for Rhode Island’s building and construction workers and leverage millions in additional investments in our communities.”
Past housing bonds have generated a total of $780 million in public and private investment in Rhode Island, and created thousands of construction and related jobs.
“Our King Street Commons project in Providence, funded in part by a previous housing bond, is turning formerly vacant and blighted property into 30 beautiful new rental apartments and an onsite childcare center,” said Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders. “The project is employing approximately 100 construction workers and is helping to revitalize the neighborhood. Voting Yes on Question 3 will spur even more great projects across the state, helping more Rhode Islanders find homes and apartments they can afford, putting our skilled tradespeople to work, and revitalizing communities. That’s a virtuous circle Rhode Island voters should strongly support.”
The Yes on 3 campaign encourages Rhode Islanders to understand their voting options and vote by March 2 to help Rhode Island address its housing crisis.
“With scores of Rhode Islanders forced to live outdoors in increasingly erratic and severe weather, families trying to do distance learning in shelter, thousands without a job and behind on rent, and COVID-19 rates increasing it is clear that we must address the horrific housing crisis today,” said Caitlin Frumerie, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. “There just is not enough housing, and what we have often isn’t safe nor affordable. We must construct more affordable housing or else we are doomed to continue rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Vote Yes on 3 and Rhode Island will be one step closer to funding housing in line with our New England neighbors.”
Voters can participate in the special election by voting by mail (mail ballot applications are due February 9), voting in-person early (between February 10 – March 1 at their local city or town hall), or voting in-person at the polls on Election Day, March 2.