News & Event
Report Shows National Shortage of More Than 7.2 Million Affordable & Available Rental Homes for Families Most in Need
NLIHC released today its report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, which finds a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low income (ELI) renter households, those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. The report calls for increasing investments in affordable housing programs for the lowest income households like the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing, and for expanding and improving the Low Income Housing Tax Credit so it serves more ELI households.
“We need our state elected officials to demonstrate bold leadership by investing more state resources in affordable housing, not less, to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have a safe, decent place they can afford to call home,” said Melina Lodge, executive director of the Housing Network of RI. The Housing Network is the professional association of the state’s non-profit housing developers.
Courtesy of Providence Journal
Posted: May 17, 2018 at 4:40 PM
Updated: May 18, 2018 at 11:21 AM
Gov. Gina Raimondo was among the officials at Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the $42-million renovation of the Prospect Heights Apartments at 560 Prospect St. in Pawtucket.
The complex was built by the Pawtucket Housing Authority between 1941 and 1942.
WinnCompanies, a multifamily property developer and manager, and Omni Development Corp., the largest minority not-for-profit housing developer in Rhode Island, officially kicked off the project to modernize the historic New Deal-era public housing community.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Pawtucket Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Vadnais and Barbara Fields, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, were also on hand for the ceremony. The renovation will include 292 apartments spread across 35 existing two-story buildings. In addition, 20 new units of housing will be built at the 21-acre site.
Appeal to stop building rejected
Neighbors opposed to the five-story building planned at 1292 Westminster St. in Providence’s West Side have lost a bid to reverse the preliminary approval of the plan.
The city’s Zoning Board of Review on May 9 declined to reverse the City Plan Commission’s preliminary approval for the plan, which includes the construction of an 8,500-square-foot, five-story building with retail on the first floor and 36 one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. The project is planned by developer Michael Lemoi.
$3.5M sale in Narragansett; Oakland hall sold
A house at 404 Ocean Rd. in Narragansett was sold May 9 for $3.5 million.
The house was sold by Michael C. and Janie V. Yag of Naples, Florida to Marcy Kaplan Glanz, trustee of the 404 Ocean Rd. Realty Trust. Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty said data from the Rhode Island Statewide Multiple Listing Service shows it was the highest transaction in Narragansett since 2016.
Additionally, the agency announced the May 8 sale of 1298 Victory Highway in Burrillville, the former Oakland Recreational Hall, for $507,000. The new owner is John C. Burnette, and the sellers are Tucker Houlihan and Christine Enos.
In both transactions, the sellers were represented by Benjamin Scungio, of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s.
The buyers for 404 Ocean Rd. and 1298 Victory Highway were represented by Marnee Grzebien of Bay Realty and Deborah Giannini of HomeSmart Professionals, respectively.
Saunderstown home brings $1.3M
A home and three acres in Saunderstown, the Browning Farm at 1510 Boston Neck Rd., North Kingstown, was sold May 14 for $1,325,000.
The seller, Seraphina Jessica Watts, was represented by Judy Chace, broker/co-owner, and Erin Marsh, sales associate, both of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty. The buyers, Thomas A. DeNicola Jr. and Rebecca M. DeNicola, of South Kingstown, were represented by Anita Langer of Residential Properties Ltd.
On Twitter: @ChristineMDunn
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Courtesy of Enterprise
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:29 pm
By John Howell
It’s not difficult to imagine a new life for the sprawling Pontiac Mills any more. Walls now divide the open floors where textile machines once hummed and immigrant workers, first from Sweden and later Ireland, put in 12-hour days to produce cloth under the name of “Fruit of the Loom.”
“I could be right here,” said Susan Baker from the mayor’s office, after walking through what will become a single bed apartment overlooking Pontiac Village with Warwick Mall as a backdrop. Maybe Baker was kidding, but it’s easy to imagine a trendy apartment with lots of open space and light all within a short drive to shopping, Route 95 or 295, commuter rail service and Green Airport.
Baker was among an entourage from the city, including Mayor Joseph Solomon, who were given a tour of the mill complex Tuesday morning by developer Larry Silverstein, president of the Baltimore-based Union Box Company and Project Manager Michael Harrington.
Phase 1 that includes 72 apartments is to be completed in two months. Even a bit sooner – before Labor Day – the owners of the Apponaug Brewing Co. plan to be up and running.
Silverstein said studio apartments would rent for $1,200 and two bedroom units going for $2,200. He said the units are being advertised and interest is high. He expects a mix of tenants from elderly couples looking to downsize to young professionals as well as some corporate financed rentals. When fully built out, the mill will have 137 residential units and 100,000 square feet of commercial space.
The mill complex is extensive, composed of more than 20 buildings when Silverstein took it on. Some buildings have been leveled and, when completed, Silverstein said it would comprise 15 buildings. Some are tiny, like the free-standing paymaster’s building, which makes for great management offices. Others, like a garage on the banks of the Pawtuxet River, could make for great space for a kayak and canoe rental operation, suggests Harrington.
Signs of the transformation are at every turn. Looking down from the upper floor of the mill building facing Knight Street, new roofs contrast starkly with the decaying shingling and façades of other buildings. Grounds have been cleared of rubble in some areas while in others it is piled under a cover of weeds.
Silverstein said no “treasurers” such as ancient mill equipment, or a forgotten safe, were discovered. Everything had been well picked over since the mill closed and an auction was held in the early 1970s. Parts of the complex revived to take on a new life as retail operations for a time. At one point, when federal funding for low-income housing was abundant, the building bordering Knight Street was considered a candidate as a housing complex. The late Rev. Howard Olsen, chairman of the Warwick Housing Authority, vigorously opposed the idea, saying it would have been a ghetto. He favored a scattered housing plan that the city adopted.
The southernmost section of the mill on Route 5 was torn down with the 163-room NYLO Hotel built to conform with the style of the mill, making its debut in 2008. It was forced to close following the flood of 2010 that devastated Pawtuxet River neighborhoods and flooded Warwick Mall. The hotel reopened a year later.
Asked about the dangers of flooding, Silverstein said some river walls on the property have been rebuilt, but a true solution would be a lowering of the dam up river.
Silverstein said a lot of rotten wood and decayed bricks that came out of the mill dates back to the mid-1850s and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We spent millions cleaning it up and millions to bring it back,” said Silverstein.
The project, comprised of 250,000 square feet, is to be completed in two phases, with the second phase being completed next summer. Silverstein pegged the overall cost of the project at $35 million, which he said would not have been possible without federal and state historic tax credits, Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits and the city tax stabilization act (TSA) that phases in the improved valuation of property for taxation purposes over 10 years.
“This is a great example of a private/public partnership,” said Mayor Solomon. The people and businesses the development will bring into the city excite him.
Harrington estimated anywhere from 50 to 200 people from 20 contracting firms have been working on the site for the past year.
“We have just got to put it back together again, that’s what we have to do,” he said.
Working with the Pontiac Village Association, Luke Murray, special projects coordinator for the planning department, said the city has applied for a $300,000 Rhode Island Commerce Corp Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement Fund grant. If approved, and paired with Community Development Block Grant funds earmarked for Pontiac and city funding, $450,000 would be made available for Knight Street improvements, including sidewalks and the infrastructure for future lighting.
A third phase of reconstruction involving the construction of a new building to house an additional 50 rental apartments is under consideration, Harrington said.
Courtesy of Warwick Beacon
The Governor’s proposed FY2019 budget (“the budget”) totals $9.2 billion, an increase of $5.2 million over the enacted FY2018 budget. This includes $3.8 billion in general revenue (increased by $25.0 million from enacted FY2018) and $3.1 billion in federal funds (a decrease of $52.3 million from enacted FY2018) with the balance from restricted receipts and other sources. The following provides some budget highlights.
The proposed Medicaid budget for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) totals $2.3 billion, including $906 million in general revenue and $1.4 billion in federal funds to provide health care and long term services to around 280,000 Rhode Islanders. The federal government’s recent extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) saves the state $29 million to provide coverage for certain children and pregnant women. The cost to cover the 70,000 adults who became eligible under Medicaid “expansion” is $472 million of which the state pays $31 million (around 6.7 percent of the cost compared to the regular state share of around 49 percent).
The budget includes approximately $150 million in cuts to the Medicaid program, including $68 million in general revenue. This includes cuts to providers: managed care organizations ($70M total, $24M in general revenue); hospitals ($30M total, $11M general revenue); and nursing facilities ($5M total, $3M general revenue). The budget assumes around $11 million in savings ($5.3M in general revenue) from eliminating retroactive coverage for seniors and people with disabilities. Under current law, medical bills incurred in the three months before application can be paid by Medicaid for these populations.
Co-payments: The most significant impact for Medicaid recipients is the proposal to require co-payments for services including the following: $8.00 for non-emergency use of the emergency room; $4.00 for brand name prescription drugs and $2.50 for generics; $3.00 per inpatient hospital stay; $3.00 for non-preventive doctor visits. The co-payments are capped at 5 percent of household income and apply to all adults over the age of 19 except for adults who are enrolled in Medicaid based on disability. This includes adults, parents, seniors, and pregnant women.
Almost all of the Rhode Islanders who will be required to pay toward their medications, doctor’s visits and other co-pays have income that is no higher than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and the majority have income that is below the poverty level. Over three-quarters (78 percent) of the adults without children (the expansion population) who receive Medicaid have income below the federal poverty level. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of parents have income below poverty, including several thousand parents who receive RI Works cash assistance whose income is almost 70 percent below the poverty level.
Generally, seniors who have Medicaid coverage have income near the poverty level and seniors who receive federal SSI cash benefits and Medicaid have income that is 20 percent below poverty. The new co-payments are estimated to “save” the state $3.2 million in general revenue and would generate savings for the federal government of $11.9 million.
Health care and long term care services for seniors and people with disabilities: The budget proposes to redesign health services delivery for around 11,000 seniors and people with disabilities who have both Medicare and Medicaid coverage and are enrolled in Neighborhood Health Plan’s (NHP) Unity Plan. NHP receives a capitated payment from the state to coordinate and pay for these members’ health care services as well as long term services in the community and nursing facilities. The redesign would end the managed care enrollment and capitated payments. NHP would be paid to coordinate member services and care management and the state would pay providers through the fee-for-service system. EOHHS would also implement a Community First Choice Option to increase federal reimbursement for certain long term care services. These changes are anticipated to save $15 million, including $10 million in general revenue. The budget does not appropriate the $6 million (half general revenue and half federal funds) available through the “Perry-Sullivan” funds (funds freed up by reducing nursing home placements) to expand home and community based services. Instead, most of the funds are proposed to be used to pay for the previously enacted wage increase for home care providers.
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT): The state contracts with a vendor to provide Medicaid members with transportation services to doctors, pharmacies and other medical services. Consumers have had many problems with the current vendor. The budget proposes to restructure and rebid the contract for NEMT and save $9.2 million, including $3.9 million in general revenue.
HealthSource RI (HSRI)
The budget includes $8.1 million in funds for the state’s health insurance exchange through which almost 30,000 Rhode Islanders purchase health insurance and access tax credits to help them pay the monthly premium. HSRI is also the eligibility portal for children, families and adults who are applying for Medicaid. Funding includes $2.4 million in general revenue and $5.7 million in restricted receipts from a 3.5 percent health insurance premium assessment.
Senior Centers and Meals-On-Wheels
The budget doubles state resources for Senior Centers from $400,000 to $800,000 and maintains funding ($530,000) for Meals-on-Wheels. Adequate nutrition for seniors and opportunities to engage in community
activities are important “social determinants” that can impact seniors’ health and well-being.
Child Care and Early Learning
The budget includes $1.5 million in general revenue to increase rates paid to providers who serve infants and
toddlers enrolled in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) if the program meets quality standards. The
budget adds $1.1 million in additional general revenue to expand pre-K programs and level funds ($1.2M) the Head Start Program.
The budget also includes $200,000 for a pilot program to allow parents who are enrolled in post-secondary education to access CCAP subsidies. Under current law, parents are eligible for CCAP only if they are working or enrolled in a short-term training program at least 20 hours/week.
Education and Workforce for Adults
Funding for the adult education system, administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education, remains the same as current year. The system, which provides adults with foundational workforce skills, including English language instruction, literacy and numeracy is funded by federal sources (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant ($1M) and the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act ($2.3M) ), general revenue of $2.3 million and $3.5 million from the Job Development Fund.
The budget maintains $300,000 in general revenue for the “Pay for Success” transitional employment program for formerly incarcerated individuals and appropriates $400,000 for a new initiative to help people in recovery from opioid addiction access supportive employment services.
The budget codifies the “Real Jobs Rhode Island” program into law within the Governor’s Workforce Board, establishing it as the state’s primary workforce development program. Changes to the law governing the Job
Development Fund would provide long-term funding for Real Jobs Rhode Island.
The budget includes second year funding for the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship, adding $3.6 million in general revenue for total funding of $6.4 million. Tuition and fees are covered for young adults who attend the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) within six months of graduating from high school.
There are no new general revenue funds in the budget for affordable rental housing. Approximately $10 million for development and preservation of affordable housing will be awarded in FY2018 from the General Obligation Bond approved by voters in 2016. A similar amount may be available in FY2019. The budget also transfers $11 million from Rhode Island Housing to the General Fund – $6 million to close the FY2018 budget deficit, and $5 million to balance the FY2019 budget request.
The budget increases the cigarette tax by an additional $.25/pack, to $4.50/pack (after increasing from $3.75/pack to $4.25/pack in last year’s budget), and expands taxes on other tobacco products, changes anticipated to generate an additional $6.2 million in revenues.
While the budget doesn’t include any “broad based” tax increases, the expansion of the sales and use tax to cover two services – Software as a Service (SaaS) and security services – is expected to generate $14.5 million. This move is an important step towards better aligning Rhode Island’s sales tax system with our economy, which has substantially shifted from the purchase of goods to the use of services, and from bricks and mortar establishments to on-line purchases.
The budget anticipates that restructuring the Department of Revenue’s Division of Taxation (and adding 22 staff) will enable the state to increase revenues collected by $13.5 million, netting $10 million after staffing and technical support costs.
The budget anticipates substantial new lottery revenue ($27.6M), most of which ($23.5M) is contingent on a favorable decision by the US Supreme Court on the legalization of sports betting. A decision is expected by
The budget increases several fees including insurance claims adjusters’ fees, mutual fund retailers’ fees, and duplicate license fees, totaling $10.6 million, a gain that is partially offset by reducing several licensing fees by a total of $300,000.
Expansion of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program is expected to generate an additional $5.1 million in revenue.
The budget allocates $18.7 million for FY2019 in additional state aid towards the phase-out of the motor vehicle tax with total of $44.7 million in foregone revenue as a result of the phase out.
Rhode Island continues to rely heavily on economic development tax incentives to encourage employers to make investments in Rhode Island. The budget includes $37.3 million for the Executive Office of Commerce “to support new and existing initiatives…to spur economic development.”
Economic Development Tax Incentives
Refundable Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit
The budget proposes expanding the manufacturing investment tax credit with a $300,000 refundable tax credit to encourage investment in equipment, training, and business capital.
Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit
The budget adds $15 million ($3M more than FY2018) to the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit Fund (providing gap financing for the development, construction, or rehabilitation of eligible commercial, industrial, residential, and mixed use properties). The budget also recommends expanding program eligibility and repealing the program’s December 31, 2018 sunset provision.
Historic Tax Credit Trust Fund
The budget includes $12.9 million (on top of revised request for $31.1M in FY2018) for debt servicing costs.
New Economic Development Initiatives
The Governor proposes creation of a new program, SupplyRI, allocating $475,000 to connect small suppliers with some of the state’s largest purchasers of supplies (i.e. universities, hospitals and other large employers) to shift spending from out-of-state to in-state suppliers.
Manufacturing Site Readiness Program
The manufacturing site readiness program would allocate $200,000 for the development of an inventory of “pad ready” industrial sites for potential use by large manufacturers or distribution centers.
Municipal Technical Assistance Grants
This initiative would allocate $200,000 to provide technical assistance to municipalities to expedite the processes involved in municipal zoning, planning, and permitting for local economic initiatives.
Courtesy of Economic Progress Institute
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