News & Event
Roger Williams University: Social Justice Month Events
Thursday, Oct 19
Sponsored by Housing Works RI and RWU Chief Diversity Officer
Workshop with Brenda Clement, Director of Housing Works Rhode Island and Ame Lambert, RWU Chief Diversity Officer.
An overview of housing issues in Rhode Island and connections to the larger social justice agenda.
This workshop will utilize information collected by Housing Works RI around how housing decisions are made. The workshop will study zip codes to see what that revels to us about housing, race, and socio-economic status.
Click to view the How Housing Works flyer.
Tuesday, Oct 24
Sponsored by FIMRC and Public Health
Film and discussion led by Dr. Kerri Warren and members from the RWU Chapter of FIMRC
UNNATURAL CAUSES is the acclaimed documentary series broadcast by PBS and now used by thousands of organization and clubs to tackle the root causes of our alarming socioeconomic and racial inequities in health.
Click to view the Unnatural Causes flyer.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, NH
We invite you to be a part of the second New England Lead Conference taking place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Nashua, NH. Hosted by the New England Lead Coordinating Committee, the conference will include a variety of educational sessions focusing on lead prevention, policy, model programs, outreach, the EPA’s Renovation, Remodeling and Repair Rule (RRP), lead abatement, compliance, and the economics of lead poisoning.
Read more >
October 4, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
The Narragansett Times: Dziobek steps down as Welcome House director
By KENDRA GRAVELLE Sep 29, 2017
SOUTH KINGSTOWN—When Joseph Dziobek accepted the position of executive director of Welcome House of South County nearly three years ago, he had expected the job would make for a simple transition into retirement.
But what was intended as a part-time gig turned into much more than that for Dziobek, who this week left his post.
“It’s been a challenge,” said Dziobek, whose last day on the job was Monday. “And it’s been very satisfying—I feel very close to the people who have been a part of it.”
Dziobek, 66, took the job at Welcome House after retiring from his career as CEO of Fellowship Health Resources. He said he intended only to stay for two or three years.
October 4, 2017 in Local Interest
Final Days to Register: 2017 Housing Fact Book Release
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Luncheon: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Location: Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence RI
October 3, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
Rhode Island College: The Defamation Experience
Monday, October 30, 2017
5:00PM - Doors Open
6:00PM - Performance
SPONSORED BY: THE DIVISION OF COMMUNITY EQUITY AND DIVERSITY AND THE DIVISION OF STUDENT SUCCESS
THE PLAY * THE DELIBERATION * THE DISCUSSION
September 27, 2017 in Events, Local Interest
NLIHC: Sign Letters to Support Equitable Housing Recovery after Devastating Hurricanes
Help ensure that low income people and neighborhoods are treated fairly after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. A broad coalition of national, state, and local organizations is calling on Congress, FEMA, and HUD to ensure that the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria is complete and equitable for everyone, especially families and individuals with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards.
September 27, 2017 in Local Interest, National News
Roger Williams University: Social Justice Month Events
Thursday, Oct 19
Mary Tefft White Center
How Housing Works
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sponsored by Housing Works RI and RWU Chief Diversity Officer
Keywords: socioeconomic status, race, jobs, housing, equity
September 25, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: People on the move for the week of Sept. 17
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM
Rhode Island LISC
Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corportation has welcomed two new employees. Jeremiah O’Grady, of Lincoln, joined LISC as program officer after spending more than 12 years at ONE Neighborhood Builders as real estate project manager and director of asset management and operations.
Liz Klinkenberg, of Warwick, was hired as communications director. She brings more than 15 years of public relations experience to her new position, including work for The Miami Herald and The Providence Journal.
The Providence American: Reed Announces $300k in Community Development Grants for NeighborWorks Affiliates
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods across Rhode Island, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced an additional $300,000 in federal funding for three Rhode Island-based affiliates of NeighborWorks America (NeighborWorks). These federal funds will help NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation to provide affordable housing opportunities, generate job growth, and enhance economic stability for working families. Earlier this year, Senator Reed also helped to secure over $750,000 in federal funding for NeighborWorks affiliates in Rhode Island, bringing total NeighborWorks investment in the state to above $1 million for fiscal year 2017.
September 21, 2017 in Federal News, Local Interest
The Providence American: Providence Unveils PVD Gives Donation Station
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined members of the City Council, public safety officials, and community leaders who have been named to the PVD Gives commission for the unveiling of the City’s first Donation Station at Kennedy Plaza. The retrofitted parking meter is one of ten stations that will be installed across the city to collect funds that will support local organizations that provide housing and services to those in need.
“PVD Gives and the new Donation Stations make it easier to give back,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Our collective generosity can make all the difference in the lives of those striving to get back on their feet. I encourage visitors and residents to chip in and be part of the solution.”
September 21, 2017 in Local Interest
Providence Journal: Report: New England losing 65 acres of forestland per day
By Steve LeBlanc / Associated Press
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 11:21 AM
BOSTON — New England has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day — a loss that comes at a time when public funding for preservation of open land, both state and federal, has also been on the decline in all six states.
That’s the conclusion of a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Forest, a research institute of Harvard University.
The study found public funding for land conservation in New England dropped by half between 2008 and 2014 to $62 million per year, slightly lower than 2004 levels.
By Linda Borg
Journal Staff Writer
WESTERLY – The Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies is partnering with the Westerly Education Center to offer courses for the semester that begins on Jan. 24.
RWU will offer four courses at the Westerly Education Center, which is managed by the State of Rhode Island’s Office of Postsecondary Commissioner and is at 23 Friendship St., Westerly. The courses are: Introduction to Computer Software, Introduction to Public Health, Spanish in the Workplace and Foundations of Education. Also, beginning Feb. 5, RWU will offer a cybersecurity career pathway program.
“Westerly Education Center is thrilled Roger Williams University is expanding access to their courses in southwestern Rhode Island,” said Amy Grzubowski, executive director of the Westerly Education Center. “Providing course options and learning opportunities to adult and high school students who are exploring career pathways helps prepare our workforce for jobs in sectors critical to Rhode Island’s future prosperity.
“The School of Continuing Studies is excited to be partnering with Westerly Education Center,” said Jamie Scurry, dean of the RWU School of Continuing Studies. “The vision set out for the center is aligned to our ethos and goal of removing barriers and obstacles to accessing education programs and opportunities. Meeting students, families and employers where they are is not only critical to this goal, it allows for us to contextualize our programs and curriculum to ensure that each student is exceptionally prepared to achieve their goals and be workforce ready.”
For more information, visit the Rhode Island Advanced Coursework Network Registration Portal and enter “Westerly” in the search box.
Courtesy of the Providence Journal
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The exhibit officially opens on Thursday, February 22 at a special event at 11 a.m., to be held on the Third Floor of City Hall outside the City Council Chambers.
Harris also spoke to working on housing issues in as her role as committee chair -- and what she sees as the needs of the community in 2018.
Courtesy of GoLocal Prov
LOS ANGELES – It’s easy to walk past the homeless, to disregard the guy lying on the street or ignore the woman standing at an intersection holding a handwritten sign with a plea for help.
It’s harder to look away when you’ve seen their eyes.
Look past lines drawn by hard living or the still-soft skin of someone young but struggling to break the cycle of dependency or abuse.
Their eyes hint at lost promise or offer a glimmer of hope. Some are haunting, some placid. Others troubled or masking troubles Some are warm and tender; others tough and anxious.
You wonder: Why did they end up here? How do they get by on so little? What do they need to get back on their feet? Here are the stories those people told.
Tammy Stephen, 54
HOME: A homeless encampment in Seattle
They call her “mom.’ Stephen, whose children have grown up, cooks and looks after the denizens of Camp Second Chance as if they were her own.
“I’m not going to let my family go hungry,” she said. “We’re doing our best to get through life. I don’t let people mess with my family.”
She has known the cycle of dependence herself and been pulled down in it by partners, she said.
Six times she’s lost a place to live because her third husband got high and got them evicted.
The final time came when things started looking up. Her husband had just landed a job, but spent his first paycheck on meth and got them booted again. She went her own way at that point.
“I broke the cardinal rule. I met him at rehab,” she said. “One of the first things he said was, ‘Don’t fall in love with me. I’m not good.’ I should have listened.”
She didn’t get sober until her third try in rehab.
She’s been homeless more than three years and has been talking with other campers about pooling money to rent a place, but it can cost $1,200 to $1,500 for tiny apartments.
At one point, she and a daughter were living in someone’s storage room for $700 a month. It was hard to afford on her monthly $734 disability payment.
“Most homeless people I know aren’t homeless because they’re addicts,” she said. “Maybe they were at one time. Most people are homeless because they can’t afford a place to live.”
Moi Williams, 59
HOME: Streets of Los Angeles
Across from the elegant Millennium Biltmore hotel, Williams reclined on his side, resting on an elbow on concrete steps leading to a park in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
Rather than stand out in contrast to the business people hustling by or commuters heading home, he fits in as one of the many homeless people who idle their days in Pershing Square.
Williams’ stare is as empty as the details he offers about his life. He said he’s been on the streets three or four years. His beard and hair are starting to gray and a cigarette is propped behind his left ear.
He had a job, but “it just got away,” he said. He figured he’d find another, but it never came along.
“I’m not fighting like I used to,” he said. “When I was younger, before I got a job, I used to fight a lot.”
Now he is trying to beat drugs and alcohol.
Williams would like a place to live and some money, but said he doesn’t stay at shelters and hasn’t signed up for any assistance. For now, he’s comfortable where he is.
“I’m not bothering nobody,” Williams said. “I’m not being bothered.”
James Harris, 54
HOME: A tent in Hollywood
Harries likes to open with “God bless you” before asking for money. It makes him feel better to offer something in exchange for a handout.
“It’s hard panhandling and taking things from people,” he said.
Harris said he has had AIDS for 30 years, he said. When medication stopped working, he got depressed and was evicted. Now he feels like an outcast, vulnerable and struggling to survive.
“I’ve been beaten, robbed, chased,” he said. “People steal your tents and your tarps and your clothes. I’ve lost everything I owned.”
He’s hoping that as a veteran he can get housing, though he missed an earlier opportunity because of a stint in a shelter disqualified him from being considered chronically homeless.
He gets by on $900 a month from Social Security and whatever he can scrounge up. A little extra cash might get him some crack to smoke at night.
“I put needs first, drugs last,” he said.
He spent the remaining $105 from a recent check on a suit and put on makeup to look like Two-Face, the villain from Batman comics. He wanted to “make an honest living” with others dressed as superheroes or movie characters jostling for tips on Hollywood Boulevard.
But it didn’t go well. He said he didn’t earn a dime.
Jorge Ortega, 40
HOME: Skid Row, Los Angeles
Ortega sleeps on a street in one of the most wretched homeless havens in America. The sidewalk reeks of urine and drug addicts sprawl nearby, one in the apparent throes of a high with her arms spread wide and head turned toward the heavens.
Ortega said he drove a forklift at Los Angeles International Airport for 18 years before having problems at work and losing his job.
One of those problems may have been drug use. He said he started using drugs as a 12-year-old in Mexico and tried to quit while working.
“Every time there’s something good in my life,” he said, “something happens.”
He collects cardboard for money.
Ortega becomes emotional talking about a 14-year-old son he hasn’t spoken with in a few years. He has family that lives in the area, but he doesn’t want to be around them and doesn’t want them to see him.
“I’m here on my own,” he said. “I like to be around by myself.”
Alicia Adara, 33
HOME: A tent in Seattle
Adara says she ended up on the street after losing a custody fight for her two children to her ex-husband.
She panhandles to survive and also gets $198 a month in food stamps. She showers at Mary’s Place, a nonprofit daycare center for homeless. Sometimes she takes sponge baths at the Seattle Ferry Terminal.
The tent she sleeps in is not the home she wants, but right now it’s the one she chooses – and it beats living in a shelter.
“I don’t do shelters. I feel like I’m in jail,” she said. “I’ve been like basically a prisoner all my life. I need to do this. I need to be out here. It’s freedom.”
As she sat in an alley in downtown killing time, she said she thinks she’ll do this for another year and then hopes for a permanent job. She doesn’t have a clue what that will be.
She takes a long pause to consider it and then says, “dog sitter.”
Courtesy of the Providence Journal
Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:01 AM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For families with household incomes below $50,000, the improving housing market in 2016 meant rising prices, and fewer homes and apartments they can afford to rent or buy, according to a new report from HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University.
The report found that in 2016, only two communities, Central Falls and Providence (not counting the East Side) offered “homes for sale that fit a household budget of under $50,000.”
For renters, there was no municipality in the state where the average cost of a two-bedroom rental apartment was affordable on a household income of $30,934, the median income for Rhode Island renters.
Even for renters earning less than $50,000, there were just six communities where the average rent price was “affordable:” Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket, Providence (without the East Side) and Woonsocket.
Housing is deemed “affordable” if housing costs consume no more than 30 percent of a household’s gross income.
“Simply put, Rhode Island needs more housing,” said Barbara Fields, executive director of Rhode Island Housing. “The real estate market is booming right now, and that means housing prices are rising — which puts pressure on families who are already struggling to get by. The good news is that we have already begun taking steps to increase production, and the $50 million housing bond that passed last year is a start.”
As the “affordability gap” grew, there was also a jump in the number of foreclosures last year. There were 1,561 foreclosure deeds issued in the Ocean State in 2016, an increase of 32 percent compared with 2015, according to the 2017 Housing Fact Book.
In addition, “Rhode Island’s rate of seriously delinquent loans is still among the highest in the United States, ranking ninth in the fourth quarter of 2016,” the report added.
The Fact Book, an annual report from HousingWorks RI, tracks affordability and other housing issues across the state. It was scheduled for release Wednesday at HousingWorks’ annual luncheon, which this year includes a morning panel discussion “offering an in-depth look at the numbers.” HousingWorks RI is a nonprofit research group that became part of Roger Williams University in 2014.
The Fact Book also tracked an increase in 2016 in building permits, which rose by 23 percent to 1,226 permits. But this level is still far below projected needs.
“As noted in the Projecting Future Housing Needs Report (2016), commissioned by Rhode Island Housing, over the next 10 years there is an anticipated need for more than 34,000 new homes,” the Fact Book added, and “demand is for more than 27,000 of those to be multifamily and able to serve households with incomes less than 80 percent of area median income ($40,400 to $68,000 for households of one to four across the state).”
But many communities still have far to go in reaching the state-mandated goal of having 10 percent of their housing stock be long-term, deed-restricted affordable housing, the report added. Just five communities have met the goal: Central Falls, Newport, New Shoreham, Providence and Woonsocket.
Communities with less than 3 percent include: Barrington (2.66), Charlestown (2.86), Exeter (2.36), Foster (2.05), Glocester (2.23), Little Compton (0.56 percent), Portsmouth (2.83), Richmond (1.89), Scituate (0.85), and West Greenwich (1.41). However, statewide, the average is up to 8.29 percent.
Rhode Island continues to have an exceptionally low homeownership rate, particularly for communities of color.
“At 60 percent, Rhode Island has the lowest rate of homeownership among the six New England states, and ranks 46th nationally,” the report added. “Across race and ethnicity, homeownership rates in Rhode Island show great disparity. White residents have a homeownership rate of 65 percent, while Latino, Black and Asian household rates are 28 percent, 31 percent and 50 percent, respectively.”
On Twitter: @ChristineMDunn
R.I. housing costs, 2016
Median house price: $239,900
Income needed to afford this: $68,065
Average two-bedroom rent: $1,288
Income needed to afford this: $51,520
SOURCE: 2017 HOUSING FACT BOOK
Courtesy of Providence Journal
By Mary MacDonald -October 11, 2017 6:15 am
PROVIDENCE – More than one-in-three households in Rhode Island with a mortgaged property are housing cost-burdened, and the rate rises to one-in-two for renters, according to research by HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University.
The 2017 Housing Fact Book, released Wednesday, shows that the real estate gains in value seen over the past two years are also impacting housing affordability, as a tightening market drives prices upward.
The number of towns and cities in Rhode Island that are affordable to buyers or renters whose incomes fall below $50,000 has dropped from previous years. Only two communities – Providence excluding the East Side and Central Falls – offer homes for sale that fit a household income under $50,000.
Even at higher income levels – those exceeding the Rhode Island household median – homebuyers have seen the number of municipalities shrink where they can reasonably expect to find available stock.
The homebuyers with a median income of $70,000 have 12 communities in which the median household cost is affordable, defined as having housing costs, including utilities, being less than 30 percent of income.
Renters are having an increasingly difficult time, as well. Households earning $50,000 or less could afford rent in only six towns or cities in the state. Households earning $30,000 or less could not afford a two-bedroom apartment in any city or town.
The implications of the housing costs reach into education, food security and the greater economic activity of the state, according to Brenda Clement, director of HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University.
By spending so much money on housing, a basic need, households that are financially burdened cannot afford to spend money on other needs.
The burden in Rhode Island has economic implications as well, she said, in an interview. It makes finding housing a challenge for many employees.
“You also add costs if people have to have longer commutes and live further and further out. It makes it challenging to attract workers and to retain workers if housing costs are not affordable,” she said.
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at MaryF_MacDonald.
Courtesy of Providence Business News
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