News & Event
Please visit the Commission website at www.gcd.ri.gov for more information
By Stephen J. O’Rourke & Thomas Zampa
Public housing remains a valuable program that has assisted millions of low-income Americans in meeting their basic housing needs.
Created by the Housing Act of 1937, public housing has been the primary housing program of the federal government. At the height of the program, there were 1.4 million units of public housing. Now, for a variety of reasons, there are approximately 1.1 million units serving families, the elderly and disabled.
Public housing has gone through several iterations since its creation. Soon after the program was created, the Second World War started, and newly constructed public housing became home to war industry workers. The Chad Brown development in Providence – the first public housing build in Rhode Island – housed hundreds of workers producing war materials at the American Screw Company. At the other end of Providence, Roger Williams Housing sheltered workers from the Kaiser Shipyard that built freighters that delivered troops and ferried material to the war zones in Europe and the Pacific.
Public housing during that era was short-term housing. Many returning war veterans started their families in public housing. Once they obtained a job and were settled financially, they moved on. Public housing gave them an opportunity to get settled and move on.
In the mid-1960s, the housing program changed dramatically. No longer was public housing occupied by extended families with at least one employed adult. Public housing became home to the very low-income, mostly single parent households – almost all female – receiving some type of public assistance. It was during this period that public housing changed from a well-liked and well-respected program to one that was disfavored for what it now represented: the warehousing of the poor with a myriad of behavioral problems.
The sixties also saw the constructions of housing for low-income elderly. The first public housing in West Warwick – West Warwick Manor – was constructed during this period. It is home to 126 elderly and disabled individuals and families. Clyde Tower followed some years later with an additional 124 units of affordable housing.
Many of the problems at the family public housing developments were the result of well-meaning, but misguided public policy decisions. The creation of programs that discouraged work and family formation enabled young women to raise children without spousal support and at the taxpayer’s expense. Rules that forbade the enforcement of rules of behavior also was a contributing factor to the low image of the program.
Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency responsible for public housing, have over the years created supportive services to assist persons in public housing achieve self-sufficiency. Its purpose was to go beyond entitlement.
HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program provided numerous incentives for public housing residents to help themselves by achieving a life of independence by assisting in job skill training and employment opportunities.
There are many myths about public housing. Much has been written about the welfare queen with four or five kids on public assistance. This is the exception, not the rule. The average size of a public housing household has shrunk substantially and now averages the household sixe of other non-subsidized households. Their tenure in public housing has decreased as well. Very few families live their entire lifetimes in public housing. Approximately 50 percent of public housing is home to elderly and disabled individuals and families.
No greater source than the Bible states that the poor will always be with us. With housing markets increasingly more expensive and out of reach for lower-income families and the elderly, public housing remains a cost-effective means to house our low-income population and should continue to receive our support.
O’Rourke is executive director of the West Warwick Housing Authority, and Zampa is its chairman.
Courtesy of The Kent County Daily Times
What’s New for the FY 2019 CoC Program Competition
The list below highlights some important information regarding new concepts CoCs should consider while planning for the FY 2019 CoC Program Competition. This list is not exhaustive and additional details are in the NOFA.
HUD has posted, or will post, additional guidance regarding the FY 2019 CoC Program Competition that includes, but is not limited to:
Available in the coming weeks:
- CoC Application
- CoC Priority Listing
- Project Applications
See the e-snaps: CoC Program Applications and Grants Management System and the FY 2019 CoC Program Competition: Funding Availability pages on the HUD Exchange for a complete listing of information and guidance.
If you have questions pertaining to e-snaps technical issues or the FY 2019 CoC Program Competition, submit your questions to the e-snaps Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. To submit a question to the e-snaps AAQ portal, select “e-snaps” from the “My question is related to” dropdown list on Step 2 of the question submission process.
If you have questions related to the CoC Program interim rule or a policy related question, submit your questions to the CoC Program AAQ portal. To submit a question to the CoC AAQ portal, select “CoC: Continuum of Care Program” from the “My question is related to” dropdown list on Step 2 of the question submission process.
If you are aware or suspect that the Collaborative Applicant for your CoC is not currently receiving these listserv messages, please forward the following link so the Collaborative Applicant can register to receive listserv messages as this is the only form HUD uses to communicate CoC Program information to the public: https://www.hudexchange.info/mailinglist/.
Courtesy of HUD Exchange
Thursday, August, 9, 2018
By ALEX TRUBIA
NORTH KINGSTOWN – The North Kingstown Planning Commission discussed Tuesday modifications to the Wickford Woods project, a major land development consisting of 40-unit condominiums located on Ten Rod and Tower Hill Roads. The discussion, at times heated, ended with the commission approving some of the modifications, while rejecting others that would have entailed making changes to the zoning ordinance, something the commission decided should be left up to the town council.
Supervising planner Maura Harrington outlined the proposed modifications to the project’s final plan decision, which had been finalized last year. After the original applicant for the Wickford Woods project went through the development process, the development was sold to Thomas Santilli, who requested the changes to the original development plan.
The requests included: raising the affordable housing unit requirements from 80 percent of area median income (AMI) to 120 percent; a delayed completion date for a pathway connecting the condominiums to Dave’s Marketplace, allowing certificates of occupancy to be approved before the completion of the pathway; and removal of the installation of a sidewalk as a point of order.
Though the original development plan was agreed to by the former developer, Robert Carr, planning commission member Tracey McCue said Santilli’s request to modify the plan was “disingenuous.”
“I kind of feel like everything we decided, we’re taking a big gut in here. And I think it’s really kind of disingenuous,” McCue said. “We granted the project to go ahead based on these conditions. Now that you have someone new, now it’s going back to try and negotiate a contract.”
“I have concerns about a precedent being set. We hold developers to the same standards If we start allowing developers to come back and negotiate what we sit here through meetings to do, I think it’s setting a very dangerous precedent,” she added. “I think it diminishes what this commission does.”
Planning commission member Paul Dion also said he was “insulted” by some of the requests.
“We spent hours on this thing. Multiple meetings,” Dion said. “When this was sold [to Santilli], they knew exactly what was required.”
The commission went one by one through the requested modifications, voting on each separately.
First was the delayed completion of the pathway to Dave’s Marketplace. The condition in the development plan stated that the path must be completed prior to the issuance of any certificates of occupancy.
Santilli said he was making the request because, while the pathway would be completed within a month and a half, it would be helpful to the development of the project if he were allowed to issue certificates of occupancy before the completion of the pathway.
The planning commission voted unanimously to allow up to ten certificates of occupancy prior to the completion of the path.
Following the approval of the certificates of occupancy, the commission took up the issue of affordable housing, which is defined as 8- percent of the AMI by the town ordinance. However, Santilli pointed out that state law defines affordable housing as no less than 120 percent of the AMI. After lengthy discussion over whether state law trumps the town ordinance, the commission unanimously rejected Santilli’s proposed modification to the development plan, ultimately leaving the decision up to the town council.
Finally, the commission took up the request to remove the installation of a sidewalk in front of the property from the points of order. Planning director Nicole LaFontaine said she discussed the matter with the Department of Transportation (DOT), who said they were not in favor of the installation of the sidewalk, calling it “haphazard.” However, commission members said they wanted to see DOT’s formal opinion in writing before making a decision.
Courtesy of The Standard Times
Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:36 PM
Updated May 16, 2018 at 2:36 PM
BRISTOL, R.I. — Roger Williams University and the state Department of Health have begun a new partnership that will train student “public health scholars” and establish other programs intended to educate young people and help improve the health of all Rhode Islanders.
The partnership was confirmed with a memorandum of understanding signed by state public health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott and Donald J. Farish, president of Roger Williams. It comes as the university is set to open its own academic department of public health, on July 1.
“This new collaboration will allow us to develop, implement and evaluate cutting-edge public health interventions that will help improve health outcomes in every ZIP code in Rhode Island,” Alexander-Scott said.
“At a time when Roger Williams University is expanding its public health program, this partnership will bring together committed faculty, active researchers and ambitious, talented students with leading public health professionals at RIDOH and other state agencies to embark on careers building healthier communities throughout the entire state.”
RWU’s public health program has “experienced rapid growth” since partnering with the state Department of Health on programs several years ago, according to the university. The school has offered a public health major for students since 2015.
In addition to student “public health scholars,” who will work with the state health department’s Academic Center, the new partnership will include “research opportunities for students and faculty members, summer programs for high school students interested in public health fields, joint quality-improvement programs, a health-care speakers bureau, and the sharing of data for research and public policy matters.”
Said RWU Provost Andrew Workman: “We are committed to serving our community by helping it to improve the health of Rhode Islanders and to provide our students with the kind of experiential learning opportunities that this kind of partnership will foster.”
Courtesy of Providence Journal
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Ben Carson, Secretary
Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20410
HUD No. 19-013
HUD Public Affairs
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
14-day advance notice designed to encourage year-round maintenance
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced it is dramatically reducing the advance notice it provides to public housing authorities (PHAs) and private owners of HUD-subsidized apartment developments before their housing is inspected to ensure it is decent, safe and healthy. HUD’s new standard provides PHAs and private owners of HUD-assisted housing 14 calendar days’ notice before an inspection, a dramatic reduction from the current notice which can frequently extend up to four months. Read HUD’s notice [hud.gov].
In addition, HUD is launching a series of listening sessions around the nation to gather input from the public and HUD stakeholders about a planned pilot program to test innovative new approaches to inspecting HUD-assisted properties. Initial listening sessions are planned in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle.
Currently, HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) provides advance notice before a scheduled inspection which frequently extends up to 120 days. This amount of lead time allows certain public housing authorities and property owners to undertake cosmetic, ‘just-in-time’ repairs to their properties rather than adopting year-round maintenance practices.
“It’s become painfully clear to us that too many public housing authorities and private landlords whom we contract with were using the weeks before their inspection to make quick fixes, essentially gaming the system,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “The action we take today is part of a broader review of our inspections so we can be true to the promise of providing housing that’s decent, safe and healthy to the millions of families we serve.”
Today’s notice is part of a wholesale reexamination of REAC’s inspection process that Secretary Carson launched shortly after taking office. HUD will be consulting with PHAs and property owners over the next several months to discuss other improvements to REAC’s process.
REAC is responsible for inspecting properties owned and operated by approximately 3,700 local public housing authorities nationwide. In addition, REAC-contracted inspectors evaluate approximately 23,000 privately owned apartment buildings. Combined, approximately 96 percent of these properties pass their inspections.
Still, it has been HUD’s observation that many public housing authorities and private owners of HUD-subsidized housing have grown accustomed to REAC’s 20-year-old inspection regime and, in some cases, invest more resources in passing minimal inspection requirements rather than satisfying their obligation to provide quality housing.
Beginning 30 days after publication of this notice, HUD employees and contract inspectors acting on behalf of HUD shall provide property owners and their agents 14 calendar days of notice prior to their inspection. If an owner/agent declines, cancels or refuses entry for an inspection, a presumptive score of “0” (zero) will be recorded. If the second attempt results in a successful inspection within seven calendar days, the resulting score will be recorded.
Read more about how HUD works to ensure taxpayer-supported housing is decent, safe and sanitary [hud.gov].
ALEX TRUBIA | Sep 21, 2018
NORTH KINGSTOWN – The planning commission voted to recommend the town council amend the town’s affordable housing ordinance and modify the area median income (AMI) threshold in the North Kingstown town ordinance to align with the state’s AMI, which is 120 percent AMI. The town’s affordable housing designation is currently 80 percent AMI.
For a two-bedroom home, 120 percent AMI would be around $280,000 for the purchase price; for a three-bedroom home, 120 percent would be around $312,000. Under the current affordable housing designation of 80 percent AMI, a two bedroom home purchase price is around $181,000; while a three bedroom home is $203,000.
Affordable housing indicates residential housing that has a sales price or rental amount within the means of a household that has moderate income or less. In the case of dwelling units for sale, housing that is affordable indicates housing in which principal, interest and taxes, which may be adjusted by state and local programs for property tax relief and insurance, constitute no more than 30 percent of the gross household income for a household with less than 120 percent AMI, adjusted for family size.
Courtesy of The NK Standard-Times
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