HNRI Press Releases

Homes RI and Housing Network react to key housing initiatives passed in ‘23 session

July 11th, 2023|

PROVIDENCE — The Housing Network of Rhode Island and Homes RI, a multi-sector housing advocacy coalition, are pleased to see the General Assembly’s continued emphasis on housing reflected in key legislative initiatives and the FY24 budget. 

On July 5, the Governor signed into law a package of 13 bills championed by House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi aimed at housing production and land use reform, including: 

  • Allowing for the adaptive reuse of certain commercial structures like factories, hospitals, offices, malls and schools into high-density residential developments.
  • Creating a transit-oriented development pilot program.
  • Streamlining and clarifying the permitting, application and appeal processes for housing developments.
  •  Requiring regular updates to comprehensive plans.

The package also contained legislation to prohibit rental application fees and allow tenants to provide their own state-issued background check and/or credit report during the screening process. The inclusion of this bill (House 6087 aa, sponsored by Rep. Cruz, and Senate 311 Sub-A sponsored by Sen. Murray) among the Speaker’s priorities yielded a significant protection for prospective renters designed to curb burgeoning and often predatory fees associated with rental applications.

In addition to the application fee legislation, the General Assembly approved several more significant tenant and homeowner protections – firmly signaling that the expansion of these protections is essential to increasing housing stability while the State undertakes measures to address housing supply and affordability. These include a package of lead poisoning prevention bills backed by Attorney General Peter Neronha. One of the highlights of the AG’s bill package is legislation that creates a statewide rental registry and will help enforce compliance with existing lead safety laws, among other protections for renters impacted by noncompliant landlords. A bill requiring replacement of residential lead pipes – a priority of Senate President Dominick Ruggerio – also passed, making this session an historic one for advancing policies and practices to prevent childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island.

The General Assembly also passed legislation that provides a pathway to seal eviction records, something that has been a priority of Homes RI and many advocate partners  since 2018. Legislation to extend the time on foreclosure mediation legislation also passed, which helps ensure that Rhode Islanders at risk of foreclosure can access free mediation and counseling to potentially avoid the loss of their home. 

The FY24 Budget reflects the Administration and General Assembly’s response to the housing crisis, and we applaud both branches of government for taking decisive action with an additional $71.5 million investment from State Fiscal Recovery Funds in housing, homelessness services, and Housing Department infrastructure. These investments are welcome and necessary, and investments in housing should remain a top priority in future budget years as our State confronts the impacts of under-building and under-investing for the prior three decades. 

Overall, the housing investments in the FY24 budget coupled with the slate of land use  and housing stability legislation

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.

Shortage of affordable housing has worsened, RI supply is insufficient

March 12th, 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

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.”…

Members in the News

How the global chip shortage is delaying an affordable housing project in East Providence – The Providence Journal, November 28th

Produce and gardening space available to residents at Galego Court – The Valley Breeze, November 21st

Judge upholds decision to allow Carr Lane affordable housing – Jamestown Press, November 16th

Ambitious Habitat plan calls for 22 new houses in Westerly – Westerly Sun, November 11th

PCF Development acquires Woodlawn Credit Union properties for affordable units in Pawtucket – The Valley Breeze, November 8th

Crossroads Rhode Island kicks off construction of new permanent supportive housing development – The Brown Daily Herald, October 26th

PCF Development leading the affordable charge as sobering numbers arrive – The Valley Breeze, October 25th

Crossroads RI is building 3 low-income housing projects. Here’s what it needs to finish. – The Providence Journal, October 11th

Crossroads RI breaks ground on new apartment project – NBC 10 News, October 6th

R.I. housing department eyes family shelter expansion this winter – The Boston Globe, October 5th

Rhode Island eviction prevention assistance program ends – The Brown Daily Herald, October 2nd

‘Mini-Forest’ Plants Seeds of Change for Neighborhood Youth – EcoRI News, September 28th

R.I. Department of Housing awards $10M to bolster winter homeless services, shelters – Providence Business News, September 27th

West Warwick Rejects Homeless Housing Project – News Radio 920 AM 104.7 FM, September 22nd

The state owns dozens of vacant properties. Could they be used for housing?The Providence Journal, September 18th

Tidewater Landing moving forward & converting offices to housing – New England Real Estate Journal, September 15th

Plans for Beechwood Avenue go to zoning board for green light – The Valley Breeze, September 6th

Shri Yoga opening celebrates passion, purpose, presence in Pawtucket – The Valley Breeze, August 29th

Work to build 176-unit affordable apartment complex in Providence starts with remediation – The Providence Journal, August 26th

Rhode Island food bank receives $500,000 grant to support disproportionately impacted communities – NBC10, August 23rd

State leaders hold ribbon cutting ceremony for affordable housing community in Exeter – NBC10, August 23rd

Former church in Cumberland officially acquired by One Neighborhood Builders for housing – PBN, August 22nd

First-time buyer celebrates new home – The Valley Breeze, August 9th

R.I. housing crisis is impacting businesses. Some companies are trying to solve the problem themselves. – The Boston Globe, August 8th

R.I. program helps train people in homeless shelters, low-income residents to become CNAs – The Boston Globe, June 19th

Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon partners with Crossroads to support homeless families – WPRI, June 15th

How RI’s public housing authorities provide affordable housing and fight stigma – The Providence Journal, June 12th

Desolate, hopeless, distressing, painful, unpredictable, heartbreaking, inadequate – Uprise RI, June 8th

TD Bank grants $175K to Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp. – PBN, May 15th

Proposed affordable housing campus could transform part of East Providence. A collaborative of nonprofits is seeking $28m to do it.. – The Boston Globe, May 11th

ONE Neighborhood Builders starts construction on East Providence development – PBN, May 3rd

Portsmouth voters approved plans for senior housing in 2021. Where the project stands. – Newport Daily News, April 27th

Crossroads RI planning apartment units for homeless residents with medical concerns – ABC6, April 19th

ONE Neighborhood Builders breaks ground on latest East Providence project – EasyBayRI, April 10th

A look at three affordable housing projects planned in Newport County – Newport Daily News, April 4th

Housing nonprofit releases vision for neighborhoods in Central Providence Roadmap – NBC10, March 27th

Stone and Steeple: How a nonprofit plans to turn St. Patrick’s Church into affordable housing – The Providence Journal, March 21st

Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on family’s home – NBC10, March 6th

SWAP calls for more government action amid the housing crisis – NBC10, February 13th

Affordable Housing Stock Shrinks in Some R.I. Towns – ecoRI News, January 23rd

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