News & Event
The Rhode Island One Touch tool is ready to go live! For those using One Touch during home visits, below the the key documents and resources are provided.
To access the One Touch checkup survey — use this link — shown here also https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4122194/RI-One-Touch. A hard copy of the survey is attached, as many of you may use the paper version in the field.
Provide the client a copy of the Referral Resource Guide, which indicates the referrals you are initiating (attached).
Courtesy of Rhode Island Alliance for Healthy Homes
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
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.
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.
Housing advocates in Rhode Island representing a wide coalition of housing groups including community development corporations (CDCS); public housing authorities (PHAs); homeless shelter providers and advocates issued the following statement on the tax bills passed by the House of Representatives and Senate Finance last week:
“Rhode Island already has an affordable housing crisis, but the tax bills recently passed by the US House of Representatives and under consideration in the Senate would make it a catastrophe. Without the federal tax credits and bonds that these bills weaken or eliminate, tens of thousands of affordable homes will not be built, and tens of thousands of families will be left homeless across our state and country.” said Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI. “The programs impacted by these bills are critically important affordable housing development and preservation tools, particularly in Rhode Island. We need Congress to protect these vital programs and to invest in the affordable housing resources that we rely on to meet the urgent housing needs of Rhode Islanders.” noted Melina Lodge, Executive Director of Housing Network of RI. “If a tax bill like this becomes law, it will impede our ability to create new affordable housing for years to come and will exacerbate homelessness in Rhode Island resulting in more families out on the streets irreparably harming our communities. ” said Bert Cooper, Interim Administrator of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. “This legislation would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion which will put immense pressure on lawmakers to make massive cuts to programs that benefit low-moderate income people including federal housing programs.” noted Michael Lyckland, President of the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island.
The House tax proposal:
· Significantly weakens the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, a successful public-private partnership that has become the foundation for affordable housing development across New England and the nation. While the credit itself is retained, it would be significantly weakened due to the corporate tax rate being significantly lowered. With less of a need for tax credits, the value of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit would drop, greatly reducing investments in low income housing by private companies. If not addressed, over the next five years, this will result in the loss of more than $35 million that could have been used to develop or preserve 400 homes for Rhode Island families.
· Eliminates the tax exemption on Private Activity Bonds, including multifamily housing bonds. This tax exemption allows bond-financed multifamily projects to access ‘4% Housing Credits,’ which have helped produce or preserve tens of thousands of affordable homes in New England. Developments financed with 4% credits often serve households with extremely low incomes, and these credits have also been used on mixed-income developments, helping to meet overall demand for market rate housing while providing rents that households with lower incomes can afford. Tax-exempt bonds are also used for reduced interest mortgages for first time homebuyers. Rhode Island currently utilizes 4% housing credits with tax exempt bond financing to preserve about 400 units every year. In addition to preserving our stock of affordable homes, that investment results in $6 million annually in construction activity, supporting 135 construction jobs.
· Eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit, a vital resource for community revitalization efforts in distressed areas. In Rhode Island, recent projects supported by the New Markets Tax Credit include Amos House, the Boys & Girls Club in Pawtucket and the Institute for Nonviolence. Housing. Between 2003 and 2015, $412.4 million in NMTC allocation leveraged an additional $405.7 million from other sources for a total of $818.1 million in project investments to 62 Rhode Island businesses and revitalization efforts, creating 8,720 jobs.
· Eliminates the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which has had a great impact in Rhode Island attracting developers to invest in once vacant, deteriorated, and underutilized structures, such as old mills, schools, and hospitals, and transforms them into much needed housing and commercial space. Hundreds of historic and iconic buildings in Rhode Island have been returned to use, creating homes resulting in tens of millions in new local tax revenues. Based on Grow Smart RI's analysis of data from the US. Census Bureau and a 2017 Rutgers University report, Rhode Island ranks first in the country on a per capita basis for its volume of recent historic rehab expenditures associated with the federal credit.
· Reforms the Mortgage Interest Deduction, which has been a long-standing effort of housing advocates and would ordinarily be a major step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the tax proposal uses the resulting savings to pay for tax cuts, not to fund new investments in affordable housing.
· Increases the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion, putting immense pressure on lawmakers in future years to make massive cuts to programs benefiting low- and moderate-income people, include federal housing programs.
HousingWorks RI at RWU is a clearinghouse of information about housing in Rhode Island. We conduct research and analyze data to inform public policy and promote dialogue about the relationship between housing and the state’s economic future and our residents’ well-being.
Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI) is an association of twenty-five public housing authorities throughout the state dedicated to providing safe, affordable and decent housing.
The Housing Network of Rhode Island is the state association of non-profit community development corporations. Our members have developed and build thousands of units of affordable housing throughout the state and initiated numerous revitalization efforts in neighborhoods across Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless is organized to promote and preserve the dignity and quality of life for men, women, and children by pursuing comprehensive and cooperative solutions to the problems of housing and homelessness.
Posted:Feb 9, 2018 at 7:53 PM
Updated:Feb 10, 2018 at 12:04 AM
For 11 years, United Way’s 2-1-1 has been helping Rhode Islanders in need, handling 194,735 calls in 2017, many from people seeking financial help, information about health services, or food.
“Hello. United Way. 2-1-1. May I help you?”
Each time call center specialist Tony Medeiros answers the phone, he has no idea what awaits him on the other end of the line. United Way of Rhode Island’s 2-1-1 call center provides round-the-clock free assistance to those looking for help finding affordable food, housing, health care, transportation and more.
Twice last week, Medeiros took calls from people who were suicidal. Sometimes the most desperate calls he gets, he says, are from people seeking help with a gambling addiction. Others need help finding affordable housing.
One woman calls regularly to ask the time or the temperature. Medeiros thinks she’s lonely, so he’s started asking her about her day.
“That’s OK. She just needs to talk to somebody for a few minutes,” he said recently.
The call center acts as a one-stop-shop for resources. Its workers are trained on the offerings and applications processes of various social service and health-care programs, as well as church groups, nonprofits, shelters and more. When a person calls with one problem, call-center workers will talk through their living conditions to make them aware of other services that could also be of help.
On Sunday, United Way celebrates National 2-1-1 Day. United Way’s 2-1-1 service has been available in Rhode Island 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, since 2007.
“I listen to their story,” said Medeiros, whose shift starts at 6 a.m. “They might be saying one thing but there’s more going on. ... Sometimes people are in a domestic violence situation and they don’t even recognize it.”
United Way 2-1-1 took 194,735 calls in Rhode Island last year, a slight decrease from the 195,344 calls in 2016. But call specialists are finding higher anxiety among callers and are spending considerably more time on each call. In December 2016, the average call time was a little more than two minutes. In December 2017, the average call time was 5½ minutes, the organization reports.
Nationally, 2-1-1 answered a total of more than 14.3 million requests for help in 2017. The service is available for 94 percent of Americans, according to a spokesman for the United Way of Rhode Island, and in most parts of Canada.
Sandi Connors, executive vice president and director of strategic marketing and communications at United Way, said the trends in Rhode Island calls are reflected at 2-1-1 centers across the country. It’s not yet clear what is driving the changes, she said.
Some of the most difficult calls come from homeless families seeking shelter, Connors said. Some 72 families are currently on a waiting list for space in a family shelter.
“The hardest days are when we get the calls we can’t help,” Connors said.
Those days are often countered by others in which workers feel they’ve made a difference.
Program manager Tina Pearl remembered a call that came in to the hotline on Thanksgiving from an elderly woman who said there was an “uninvited guest” in her home. She had already called the police, who checked out the situation and determined there wasn’t an intruder. But the call center worker and Pearl determined they should also make a home visit.
It turned out there wasn’t anyone else in the home, Pearl said. The woman hadn’t eaten but she thought someone was coming over for dinner. She was confused, suffering from dementia and other health problems. They were eventually able to get her to the hospital.
“That’s why we go to work every day,” Pearl said.
2-1-1 calls, by the numbers
Here are some of the most common reasons Rhode Islanders called 2-1-1 in 2017.
Financial assistance: 162,936
Health information: 112,411
Courtesy of Providence Journal
Homelessness in Rhode Island is on the rise. The state saw a 1.7 percent increase in homelessness this year according to a new report by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Statewide, 1,180 people experienced homelessness on a single day earlier this year. Nearly 400 were children in homeless families; almost 100 were veterans. Of even greater concern, Rhode Island’s chronically homeless population nearly doubled, increasing from 136 to 240.
After years of successfully reducing homelessness, Rhode Island’s homeless numbers are heading in the wrong direction. The solution to ending homelessness is actually pretty simple. Our “Housing First” model effectively gets people off the streets, out of shelter — and into permanent, affordable housing with the support services necessary to help them remain housed. Unfortunately, Rhode Island simply does not have enough housing that is affordable and meets people's needs.
Fortunately, social service agencies like Crossroads Rhode Island step in to bridge the gap. But hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding cuts, including the loss of Housing Stabilization dollars through Medicaid, Road Home and the Neighborhood Opportunities Program, are significantly reducing the amount of aid available for 2018 and beyond.
It’s the chronically homeless, the state’s most vulnerable population, who are likely to pay the price. Many of these individuals struggle with physical and mental illness, hunger and poverty — fighting every day just to survive. Without adequate funding for housing and support programs, they will end up back on the street, sleeping in doorways, camping under highway overpasses or staying in shelters.
Recently, 283 people slept in a Crossroads shelter, including 53 children in 27 families. Others sought refuge at different shelters — or bundled up in outdoor places where no one should have to spend a cold, winter night.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but helping those people find permanent housing solutions will ultimately cost taxpayers far less than keeping them in shelters. Research shows that the chronically homeless are much higher users of Medicaid, police, fire and rescue and other services.
A 2013 study of 67 chronically homeless Rhode Island Medicaid users revealed charges of $59,651 per person, more than double Medicaid charges for the average housed, disabled adult. In fact, over the course of 26 months, those 67 individuals cost the state $9.3 million in Medicaid costs alone.
Over the last three years, Crossroads helped more than 3,000 people move into permanent housing—and stay there. Several had been living in shelters for 10 years or more. Ten years. Let that sink in. Imagine how much it cost taxpayers to shelter those individuals for more than a decade, never mind what it would be like to live in a homeless shelter for that long.
The bottom line is that programs like “Housing First” save more taxpayer dollars than reducing funding. Working together, we can reduce the number of men, women and children experiencing homelessness, help save taxpayer dollars and find every Rhode Islander a safe place to call home this holiday season.
— Karen Santilli is president and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island.
The State Housing Resources Commission (HRC) is pleased to announce the availability of resources under the Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI) program, a State-funded (Affordable Housing Bond) initiative. Working with RI Housing and other stakeholders, the HRC will utilize this program to create and preserve affordable housing throughout Rhode Island.
While the timeline and some of the forms are similar to those required to apply for Rhode Island Housing programs, please note BHRI is a distinct program with separate requirements, forms and procedures. Only those applications submitted through the BHRI RFP process will be considered for State BHRI funding.
The application forms developed (and attached below) include a great deal of information necessary for the HRC and RI Housing staff to properly score your proposals in accordance with the RFP. The intent of this detailed RFP/Scoring system is to enable potential applicants to more fully understand how they might potentially rank against other proposals. At the conclusion of this application process, HRC staff will consult with applicants and stakeholders to assure the process was effective and efficient. Changes in the process may occur based upon this reexamination. Your input into this process is very much appreciated.
Full and complete applications are due to Raymond Neirinckx, HRC staff, no later than 3:00pm on Friday - December 15, 2017. Please assure two hard copies and an electronic version of the application are delivered by the due date. Late applications will not be considered.
Thank you for interest in helping to address the State’s affordable housing needs. We look forward to working with you and community stakeholders to best utilize resources made available.
Questions regarding the applications must be submitted to Raymond Neirinckx at Raymond.Neirinckx@doa.ri.gov. Responses to questions will be made available through the office’s website at http://www.ohcd.ri.gov
Michael Tondra, Chief
RI Office of Housing & Community Development & Housing Resources Commission
For more information, and to find application attachments, click here.
By ANNA KRAMER
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Monday, November 27, 2017
Loud conversation and the smell of meatloaf baking filled the entryway of All Saints Memorial Church in downtown Providence Nov. 14. At the church every Tuesday, the hungry and homeless can find a free and freshly cooked dinner provided by nonprofit City Meal Site. On that Tuesday night, the short, graying and flannel-clad Reverend Maryalice Sullivan greeted homeless and formerly homeless individuals. On their way out, the constituents were stopped by a few University students, who asked to discuss political advocacy for the homeless.
These students — members of the advocacy and outreach group Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere — were conducting the 2017 Government Relations Survey, which is used to determine high-priority legislative goals for homeless individuals. The GR survey has been used in past years to gather data for nonprofit groups that lobby for legislative action in the Rhode Island State House, said Gabriel Zimmerman ’18, co-director of HOPE. The survey was formerly administered by the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, but reduced funding limited RICH’s capacity to conduct the survey this year, he added. As a result, HOPE volunteered to redesign and conduct the GR survey in order to ensure its continued existence.
Redesigned survey tries to ask the right questions
“We’ve decided there are some changes we wanted to make to” the GR survey, Zimmerman said.
In redesigning the survey, the group changed the types of questions presented, said Morgan Talbot ’18, advocacy director for HOPE. Surveys in previous years have asked participants to identify the largest and most pressing issues facing homeless individuals, according to the 2016 survey. Access to affordable housing was the most pressing issue for almost half of those surveyed in 2016.
That pattern repeated itself in previous years, Talbot said, adding that it made the survey increasingly less useful in providing new information. “Part of the criticism of the survey in the past was that we tend to get some of the same responses every year,” he said.
“This year, we’re focusing much more on concrete legislative actions that have been discussed previously by advocacy groups,” Talbot added.
At All Saints Church Nov. 14, Talbot asked homeless individuals to choose three out of 10 possible legislative actions and prioritize them. Proposals on the list included making “it illegal for landlords to deny housing to someone based on source of income or having a Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher” and funding “free child care for homeless families with children.” Other survey questions asked for ideas and opportunities not listed, as well as basic demographic information.
By the end of the night, Talbot, Zimmerman and other HOPE volunteers had collected roughly 20 surveys.
HOPE has made several other changes to the survey collection method this year. For example, the group now conducts data collection in Spanish, as well as other languages if possible.
In addition, surveys have been collected in other parts of Providence as well as Pawtucket, Cranston, Westerly and Woonsocket, and group members will travel to Newport and Middletown later this week, Zimmerman said.
By expanding the survey’s geographical range, HOPE has given advocacy groups a new asset in lobbying reluctant State House representatives. Non-profit groups and student activists hope to present representatives with data from their own districts and constituents, which should make lobbying more effective, said Will Gomberg ’20, one of two outreach coordinators for HOPE.
Legislative lobbying finds success
The group will analyze the data and present it to a meeting of non-profit groups at RICH’s headquarters in the coming weeks, Talbot said. The State House session begins in January and ends in June, and HOPE and other Rhode Island nonprofits will base their lobbying campaigns off of the results of the survey, Zimmerman said.
“We’re aiming to get about 150 to 200 surveys” before Dec. 5, Gomberg said. But HOPE, with the assistance of teams from other student and off-campus groups, has far surpassed that number. As of Monday, the group had collected about 250 surveys and aims to have 300 by the end of the week, Zimmerman said.
HOPE has participated in several effective lobbying campaigns in the past. In spring 2017, HOPE students were active lobbyists and participants in the successful movement to restore the no-fare bus pass for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. The group also canvassed for an affordable housing bond initiative in 2016 and lobbied successfully for a homeless bill of rights in 2012, The Herald previously reported.
“We always partner with existing community organizations if they’re already doing the work,” Zimmerman said.
Student outreach tackles case management
Students are often limited in their lobbying abilities by their academic time commitments, both Zimmerman and Gomberg said. In spite of those commitments, both outreach and advocacy have continued to grow. The HOPE outreach staff travels in teams of four or five, six nights a week on three different routes. Those routes travel through downtown Providence, the south side of Providence and Pawtucket.
HOPE works through two primary avenues — direct service, called outreach, and political action, called advocacy. The group has expanded in recent years, growing from 45 members in spring 2017 to 75 members this semester. That has increased HOPE’s capacity for both direct service and advocacy, Zimmerman said.
Some students are also beginning to build “case management” skills, Gomberg said. For example, a group of HOPE students recently received a training on how to help homeless individuals obtain various forms of identification in order to successfully navigate the application process for housing vouchers.
HOPE’s growth into case management, expanded outreach and new survey leadership all stem from a central motivating mission, Zimmerman said. “HOPE’s goal is to eradicate homelessness. … We believe that direct service isn’t enough by itself. There has to be a structural aspect to make change in the community,” he said.
At the meal site Nov. 14, Zimmerman spoke with Reverend Sullivan at the doorway during a pause in the collection of surveys. Systemic change to the problem of homelessness “would be my dream,” Sullivan said. “Society as a whole needs to grasp that there are those who have literally nothing.”
A few days before the trip to the City Meal Site, Zimmerman explained his dedication to HOPE while rain lashed against the window. “Once a week, you take two hours … and you have conversations with people who are literally in this weather living on the street,” Zimmerman said. It “reinforces how much more we have to do on behalf of the Providence community.”
Courtesy of The Brown Daily Herald
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