Shortage of affordable housing has worsened, RI supply is insufficient

March 16th, 2023|

PROVIDENCE – The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), finds a national shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renter households.

Between 2019 and 2021, the shortage of affordable housing for extremely low-income renters worsened by more than half a million units. While rental inflation has cooled going into 2023, extremely low-income renters will continue to face significant barriers to finding and maintaining affordable housing, as their incomes are insufficient to cover even modest rental prices.

Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals. The new Gap report finds that the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by significant rent increases, drastically impacted the supply of affordable and available rental homes in recent years. As households lost income and rental prices increased, the number of extremely low-income households rose, while the number of units affordable to them shrank.

In Rhode Island, there are 51,596 extremely low-income households but only 27,547 affordable rental homes available to them. Rhode Island has just 74 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes.

Facing a shortage of 24,049 affordable and available rental homes, 60 percent of Rhode Island renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their monthly income on housing.

“According to this year’s Gap report, more than half Rhode Island’s renter households are severely housing cost-burdened. Since a disproportionate share of their income is being spent on monthly housing costs, this makes it difficult for these households to afford other essential needs, such as food, child and healthcare expenses,” said Housing Network of Rhode Island executive director Melina Lodge. “The staggering shortage of affordable and available rental homes means that it is imperative that Rhode Island continue to invest in policies and programs that will expand our stock of affordable homes, and we must act with urgency. Fortunately, there is a window of opportunity for us to capitalize on, with strong leadership in the House of Representatives by Speaker Shekarchi and the availability of federal resources to make initial investments – Rhode Island can still turn its housing crisis around.”

“Each week, the Coordinated Entry System Help Center receives over 1,000 calls from Rhode Islanders suffering due to the devastating housing crisis in our state. This Gap report demonstrates what we are all experiencing, the supply of housing does not meet demand,” said Caitlin Frumerie, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. “When there isn’t enough supply, people are left with nowhere to go and often end up living outdoors. In the last two weeks, there were 379 Rhode Islanders who are unsheltered and scores more who are housing insecure. We must address this gap before the crisis worsens.”

“The Gap report is a great resource to help us think about how we are serving the needs of our extremely low-income renter households. Beyond

Housing Network celebrates Rhode Island’s Community Development Corporations

March 13th, 2023|

PROVIDENCE – The Housing Network of Rhode Island is pleased to kick-off Rhode Island Community Development Corporation Week (March 13-17) with the release of the Network’s 2021-2022 Membership Impact Report.

The Housing Network of Rhode Island (HNRI) is the state’s membership organization of Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and nonprofit housing developers, who are committed to expanding equitable housing and economic opportunities for low-income Rhode Islanders.

The Housing Network’s members are a critical piece of the state’s housing development sector and essential to ensuring every Rhode Islander has a safe, healthy, affordable home in a thriving community. The Impact Report details the contributions to Rhode Island’s communities and economy of our 15 member nonprofits from 2021 to 2022.

RI nonprofits are ready to build more homes

January 31st, 2023|

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and nonprofit developers are answering the call to create and preserve hundreds more safe, healthy and affordable homes across the state.

Inadequate stock of rentals and homes for sale is driving high sales prices and increased rents felt by most Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island lawmakers have responded by emphasizing housing as a top priority, and in June 2022 allocated $250 million towards housing production and homeless services from available American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

In November 2022, RIHousing issued a Request for Proposals to developers, funded by these ARPA dollars and other existing housing resources. The application closed on Jan. 12, and RIHousing received $223 million in funding requests – more than $50 million over the total $163.6 million available.

More than 20 projects were proposed by members of the Housing Network of Rhode Island, collectively seeking over $100 million in funding to construct or preserve 800-plus homes across R.I. from Westerly to Woonsocket. More than 87 percent of the rental homes, if funded and produced, would be accessible to households earning less than $60,000 per year (based on a household of four). The development cost of these homes includes a subsidy that ensures the homes can be rented or sold at below market rates to low and moderate income households.

Last year’s investment in housing production is a step in the right direction, aiding nonprofit developers in their effort to build stronger communities with equitable access to affordable homes. The response from the development community to this most recent round of available funding shows that there is capacity to build more homes – and the State could do even more with additional investments.

“CDCs and nonprofit affordable developers have been driving meaningful change in our communities for decades. We’re part of the solution to meeting Rhode Islanders’ housing and economic needs. It’s crucial that State leaders continue to invest in affordable housing and community development to keep R.I. moving forward,” said Sharon Morris, HNRI Board Director and Executive Director of Omni Development Corporation.

Collectively, HNRI members have produced more than 10,000 long-term affordable homes in R.I. They are mission-driven community anchors for resident-centered economic empowerment and neighborhood revitalization. HNRI members host childcare facilities and commercial spaces, support community gardens and food enterprises, provide job training, homebuyer counseling, landlord education, home repair, and offer personal and small business micro loans or grants. These organizations are a critical piece of R.I.’s housing development sector and essential to ensuring every Rhode Islander has a safe, healthy, affordable home in a thriving community.

“I’m inspired by the efforts of our membership who are at the forefront of creating more equitable housing and economic opportunities for Rhode Islanders. Continued investment in the sector will foster a more prosperous future for us as a state,” said Melina Lodge, Executive Director of HNRI.

Housing Network of Rhode Island Named One of Bank of America’s 2022 Neighborhood Builders

November 16th, 2022|

Providence – The Housing Network of Rhode Island is honored to have been named one of two Rhode Island awardees of the 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® grant for its work
in the community to advance policy and program reform aimed at increasing access to affordable homes and improving housing and economic stability for low income Rhode Islanders.

The Housing Network of Rhode Island is the statewide association of 16 Community Development Corporations and nonprofit developers committed to the development and preservation of affordable homes and thriving communities. Our members have built and developed thousands of affordable homes and support numerous neighborhood revitalization and community development efforts across Rhode Island. The Housing Network supports its members and contributes to the overall housing sector by: advocating for policies and
programs to further the development and preservation of affordable housing and economic development of our neighborhoods; championing our member organizations as critically important community partners; and convening our members and allied organizations to build capacity, collaborate, and to learn from one another and national partners…

NBWBRV celebrates completion of seven new homes in Pascoag

November 3rd, 2022|

BURRILLVILLE – Interest rates and inflation are rising; however, several homeowners in bucolic Burrillville received a substantial financial break and are living in better-than-average homes, built in part by their own labor, and thanks in part to taxpayers.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley brought the homeowners, funders, politicians, and others to Pascoag for speeches, home tours, a ribbon cutting for the seven new homes and the groundbreaking for the next eight homes in the Fernwood neighborhood project built through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Fernwood is a sub-development on George Eddy Road, a cul-de-sac not far from Echo Lake.

NWBRV is part of NeighborWorks America, “the country’s preeminent leader in affordable housing and community development.”…

LISC Rhode Island Awards $620,000 to Community Development Partners

October 20th, 2022|

PROVIDENCE, October 19, 2022 – Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island today announced more than $620,000 in grant awards to Community Development Corporations to support the organizations in their mission to create and preserve affordable housing in Rhode Island.

The awards are part of LISC’s Neighborhood Development Fund, an annual grant program that provides funding for operational expenses, capacity building, and provides robust technical assistance for CDC partners throughout the year. Since its inception in 1995, LISC’s Neighborhood Development Fund has awarded more than $13.2 million to community development corporations in Rhode Island. The program’s primary focus is to increase the ability of the state’s CDCs to produce affordable housing while addressing broader community revitalization issues…

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