News & Event
Posted:Mar 6, 2018 at 2:31 PM
Updated:Mar 6, 2018 at 2:31 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Caitlin Frumerie, a resident of Providence’s West Side, has been hired as the new executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the board of directors announced Tuesday.
“The Coalition is grateful for the tireless work of its staff, the board, interim director Bert Cooper, and the search committee for their efforts in the selection and interview process,” board president Steven M. Miller said in an announcement. “With her extensive background working on homeless programs and dedication to the dream that no man, woman, or child should find themselves living on the street or in a shelter, we think Caitlin will be a strong advocate and systems change agent for the issue of homelessness in Rhode Island.”
Frumerie, who is originally from Arizona, “most recently worked as a technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homeless programs division under the Cloudburst Group,” according to Miller.
She previously held positions as the community development director for the City of Providence and homeless shelter program manager for the State of Rhode Island. She has two bachelor degrees from Roger Williams University and a masters in social work from Boston University. Frumerie is also a licensed clinician “and can be found working the occasional night and weekend shift as a social worker in one of our local hospital emergency rooms,” he added.
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 Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH) is a statewide organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Rhode Island. Formed in 1988, RICH’s mission is to seek comprehensive and cooperative solutions to homelessness in Rhode Island. This is accomplished through data collection and analysis, advocacy, training and education, collaboration, technical assistance, constituent services, and strategic communications. RICH works to build the public and political will to support the right for safe, affordable housing for every Rhode Islander. The organization works to ensure and support local, state and federal commitments to establish a continuum of affordable housing and homeless prevention programs. This work involves maintaining a broad base of key stakeholders to support and advocate for the organization’s vision, including homeless people, service providers, politicians, affordable housing allies, advocates, public and philanthropic funders, businesses, city and state officials, developers, faith communities and concerned citizens.
As the lead agency responsible for Rhode Island’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), RICH is in the unique position to use data and information to catalyze and inform change within the homelessness services system. RICH collects, analyzes, and disseminates data and information that is fundamental to the health and efficient operations of the State of Rhode Island’s Continuum of Care (CoC), which is comprised of state agencies, community partners, and individuals that guide the state’s homelessness policies and administer federal and state homeless funds as they work to build a statewide system to prevent and end homelessness. Building off the organization’s role as HMIS Administrator for the CoC, RICH’s next Executive Director will work with staff, consultants, partner organizations, funders, and researchers to advance data and evidence informed practices and strategies, including and especially coordinated assessment and housing placement, to rapidly and permanently end homelessness among individuals and families.
The Executive Director is accountable for the overall leadership, direction and management of the organization’s resources to accomplish the goals and mission of the organization. The Executive Director should have experience in financial management, community relations, program delivery, organizational development, strategic planning, and experience using data and information to strengthen both practice and systems. The Executive Director must have empowering leadership skills to work with staff, Coalition partners, Board and community stakeholders. The Executive Director exemplifies RICH’s values and nurtures its organizational culture by supporting a learning community of staff, Board, homeless constituents, community stakeholders, government and political leaders. The ED reports to the Board of Directors and will work with the Board, RICH’s membership, funders and other constituents to develop a new Strategic Plan for the organization during his/her first year in the position.
KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Program Development and Management
Resource Development and Fundraising
Personnel and Operations Management
Community Collaboration and Movement Building
Strategic Communications and Public Relations
The preferred candidate has knowledge and experience in homelessness prevention and system-change work, is an energetic leader with demonstrated financial and organizational management skills, who can engage others in RICH’s mission, embraces and encourages coalition and movement building and is comfortable working with low income and marginalized populations.
The ideal candidate possesses the following attributes:
This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic leader who is truly committed to making a positive contribution to the community. Compensation between $70,000-$80,000. Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.
Application deadline: 5pm EDT Monday, November 20, 2017
Candidates should submit a resume and cover letter describing their interest in this position via:
• Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, please include, “ED Search” in the subject line.
• Regular mail - Search Committee
RI Coalition for the Homeless
1070 Main St
Pawtucket, RI 02860
For more information about RI Coalition for the Homeless visit http://rihomeless.org
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
Posted:Mar 19, 2018 at 8:31 PM
Updated:Mar 19, 2018 at 8:31 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The federal Housing Choice Voucher program was created during the Reagan administration to give low-income tenants a way to find housing of their own choosing in the private market, instead of being limited to Section 8-financed projects.
But in Rhode Island, that intended choice and mobility are often pre-empted by landlords who say: “No Section 8.”
Unlike Massachusetts, which outlawed this form of housing discrimination in 1971, and unlike Connecticut (1989), Maine (1975) and Vermont (1987), Rhode Island still allows landlords to proclaim “No Section 8” in advertisements, and they are allowed to say it directly to would-be tenants. In Rhode Island, about 9,300 households have vouchers.
According to Marissa Janton, legal counsel for the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights, many landlords use a “no Section 8” policy as a “proxy” for discrimination based on other factors, including gender, family composition, disability, and race and ethnicity. She said that 70 percent of voucher holders in Rhode Island are families with children, 87 percent are households headed by women and 20 percent are black.
New legislation (H7528 / S2301) would prohibit discrimination against renters based on their “lawful source of income,” including a rental assistance voucher, Social Security payment or disability benefits. The law would not apply to owner-occupied buildings with three or fewer units, and it would not prevent landlords from asking prospective tenants about their income level.
Similar legislation was introduced in Rhode Island last year, and was passed in the Senate. Hearings were held on this year’s bills March 1 in the Senate Judiciary Committee and Feb. 27 in the House Judiciary Committee.
The House panel is chaired by a lawyer and Section 8 landlord, Rep. Cale Keable, D-Burrillville. Last year, Keable recused himself from proceedings on the legislation, but he led a hearing on the bill on Feb. 27. Keable did not respond directly to a request for comment, but spokesman Larry Berman emailed The Journal with a response from the chairman about why he recused himself last year, but not this year.
According to Berman, Keable recused himself last year out of “an abundance of caution.” Keable’s message said: “I attended Jason Gramitt’s ethics training earlier this year and I developed a better understanding of the class exemption, which I clearly fall under regarding this bill.”
According to Berman, Gramitt is the education coordinator for the Rhode Island Ethics Commission, and he conducts a yearly training seminar for legislators.
Berman added that state Rep. Anastasia P. Williams, D-Providence, the bill’s sponsor in the House, also owns rental property.
Keable had more to say at the Feb. 27 hearing, noting that while he supports the Section 8 program, and personally rents to people with vouchers, he worries about the right of property owners to not be “forced” to participate in the federal program, with all of its responsibilities and requirements, including a yearly inspection of the property.
Carlos Lopez, executive director of the Westerly Housing Authority, and a former Section 8 tenant, replied that public policy should support the “common good,” which, he said, should also include the interests of people who need housing.
Rep. Williams, speaking at the House Judiciary hearing, asked her colleagues to end the “blatant discrimination that has been occurring throughout the state of Rhode Island for a number of years.” She added that “many of you are very uncomfortable talking about discrimination ... But it’s real. It’s very real.”
Amy Rainone, intergovernmental relations director for Rhode Island Housing, told the House Judiciary Committee that “over 50 percent of our voucher holders have been turned down” for housing because of a “no Section 8″ policy, many after waiting “5 to 8 years to get a voucher.” Rainone said this discrimination is “completely unacceptable,” and the legislation would “remove an important barrier to housing affordability” at no cost to the state.
Housing activists say the law is especially necessary in today’s tight rental market.
The legislation has been supported by many groups, including Rhode Island Housing, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, Progreso Latino, the Economic Progress Institute, the United Way of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rhode Island Kids Count, DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island, SouthCoast Fair Housing, and the Rhode Island Community Action Association.
At the March 1, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Senate sponsor, Sen. Harold M. Metts, D-Providence, said he found the “No Section 8” ads “very, very troubling,” given the stagnant wages and rising rental costs faced by many in Rhode Island.
“There’s a shortage of housing not just in Providence, but all over the state of Rhode Island,” added state Sen. Paul Jabour, D-Providence.
“This legislation is needed to make this despicable practice of discrimination against poor people illegal,” Metts said. “We must stop the negative stereotype as it relates to poor people, struggling low-income families” and the “stigma of Section 8.”
With a voucher, tenants pay 30 percent of the rent out of their own pockets, and the voucher covers the remainder, up to limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The voucher program is the federal government’s major housing assistance effort.
The landlord receives the housing subsidy directly from the local Housing Authority. If the local housing authority approves, vouchers may even be used to buy a modestly-priced home. Rhode Island has 25 different public housing authorities, and Rhode Island Housing serves as the public housing authority for 15 communities that don’t have their own housing authorities.
“There is nothing in this legislation that would prevent landlords from denying tenancy due to non-discriminatory criteria such as poor credit, bad references, or a failed reference check,” wrote Barbara Fields, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, in a letter of support of the bills. “What it will do is prohibit reliance on stereotypes about recipients of public assistance in determining an applicant’s suitability as a tenant.”
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