5 Questions with Brenda Clement, HWRI at RWU Director Published on October 21, 2016 BY MARY MACDONALD | MACDONALD@PBN.COM 1. What is one of your first goals? To reconnect with my housing and community-development colleagues here in Rhode Island, and find areas where we can collaborate and support each other's work. Research shows that access to healthy, affordable housing bolsters positive outcomes in many areas, including health, education, employment and economic development. 2. The 2016 Housing Fact Book says a majority of renters are housing-cost burdened, and almost one-third of homeowners. How is this hampering the state's economy? When a renter or homeowner is housing-cost burdened, it means that they often do not have enough resources to meet basic needs or contribute to the local economy. … Based on 55,800 cost-burdened owner households in Rhode Island, these households spend an estimated $1.26 billion on their mortgage and housing expenses per year. If they lived in housing affordable to them, that figure would decrease to $773 million per year. 3. What is the solution? Are renters caught in a rut, paying too much rent to save toward ownership? While not the only solution, increasing the supply of housing, particularly affordable units, for renters would help… We found that by 2025, a 12-13 percent increase in the number of households will occur. Due to the demographics and housing preferences of the households. … more than 80 percent of new households are projected to live in multifamily units. Over 30,000 new housing units will be needed in multifamily properties. 4. Is the solution more housing creation in all communities, or in specific areas? HousingWorks RI envisions a state in which all communities embrace a variety of housing choices. … Developing housing close to transit or job hubs, or existing neighborhood or village centers makes good sense. In addition, affordability should play a key role in housing creation throughout our state. 5. How can the state encourage lower housing costs? Working to reduce regulatory barriers at both the local and state levels would help to reduce costs. In November Question 7, the $50 million Housing Opportunity Bond, will be presented to voters. … It is estimated that the bond will generate over 1,000 jobs and help to address our housing shortage by providing resources to preserve and build more affordable homes across the state. Courtesy of Providence Business News .