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…

E.P. reaches affordable housing goal with opening of rehabilitated Sutton Place

October 17th, 2022|

EAST PROVIDENCE – The city became the seventh municipality in Rhode Island to reach the state’s 10% community goal for affordable housing with the opening of a 36-unit complex on Monday.

ONE Neighborhood Builders hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly rehabilitated Sutton Place apartment complex of affordable housing.

“When communities invest in affordable housing, they are investing in a stronger economy. We would not be in a position to open the doors of Sutton Place without strong support from our partners in government, from the federal delegation all the way to the local and municipal leaders in East Providence,” said ONE Neighborhood Builders Executive Director Jen Hawkins. “East Providence is now the seventh municipality in Rhode Island to reach the state’s 10 percent low- and moderate-income housing goal.”…

Rhode Island expert outlines worsening housing crisis

August 2nd, 2022|

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — As rental rates rise across the state, Rhode Islanders now face harsh realities of a continued housing crisis, that shows no signs of ending soon.

The rising rental rates have driven families from their homes, like the Ringland’s of Barrington.

Their monthly rent went from $950 to $1,800 over the past two months.

Jack Ringland explained Thursday, “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, I guess Barbara could go up to New Hampshire and live with her mother, and they tell me I still have a right to get into the veteran’s home.’ That’ll make us 150 miles away from each other. That’s no way to spend the rest of our days.”

Brenda Clement, director of Housing Works Rhode Island, said the nearly doubling of monthly rental is legal.

She explained Tuesday, “Most tenants in Rhode Island are month-to-month tenants, and as such, are at risk of a landlord saying, ‘I’m doubling your rent and I’m terminating your residency with proper notification.’”…

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