Myths vs. Facts

HousingWorks RI seeks to build a foundation of facts to foster a productive discussion about affordability. There are a number of myths that circulate about long-term affordable homes, which we hope to dispel here.

MYTH: Affordable Housing will lower my property value and be a drain on my community.

Broad Street Revitalization
Broad Street Revitalization, originally developed by Community Works RI and now owned and managed by ONE Neighborhood Builders, pays painstaking attention to the historical detail and character of its Providence neighborhood.
FACT: This is one of the most common and misleading misconceptions about affordable homes and one of the biggest concerns raised over the development of affordable homes. For several years, sufficient research has disproven these false notions. Architectural standards and adequate maintenance strongly influence property values. Properly maintained affordable housing developments, designed and built with sensitivity to the architectural and aesthetic standards desired by the community, may even increase the property values.

MYTH: Investment in affordable homes won’t have a significant positive impact on the economy.

FACT: HousingWorks RI conducted a statewide economic impact study of the Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI) program and the results are clear. Public investment in housing, specifically in affordable workforce homes, has a tangible, positive impact on Rhode Island’s economy.

The report analyzed the impact of the BHRI program for the State’s economy using the IMPLAN economic input-output model for Rhode Island.

Heritage Place, Woonsocket
Heritage Place in Woonsocket, developed by NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, is a perfect example of mixed-use development. Building the local economy, while providing needed affordable rental homes.
  • The $50 million of BHRI investments in Rhode Island have generated close to $800 million in total economic activity, multiplying nearly 16 times throughout our state’s economy.
  • In addition to offering a return of $16 per $1 invested, BHRI has also supported nearly 6,100 jobs in Rhode Island, generating about $300 million in wages, which workers use to purchase local goods and services and contribute to municipal and state economies.
  • 53% of the total estimated cost of residential construction permitted from 2007 to 2010 was for developments supported by the Building Homes Rhode Island program.
  • As a result, there has been over $650 million in additional investments from other public and private sources.

In 2020, HousingWorks RI created a report, Building Homes Rhode Island Status Report: Years of Accomplishments, highlighting the work of BHRI.

MYTH: The real estate market downturn and the foreclosure crisis have made homes affordable – we don’t need to support the creation of affordable homes in Rhode Island.

FACT: HousingWorks RI commissioned Hart Research Associates, a leading national survey research firm, to conduct a telephone survey of 500 registered voters in Rhode Island. The research dispelled the myth that voters see the real estate market downturn as having solved Rhode Island’s affordable housing crisis.

Distressed properties often seem like a deal, but many of these homes are in poor condition requiring extensive and costly improvements to make them livable.

Properly maintained affordable housing developments, designed and built with sensitivity to the architectural and aesthetic standards desired by the community, may even increase the property values.

MYTH: Nobody I know needs Affordable Housing.

FACT: The current economic times have made it even more likely that you know someone who is either struggling to find a home they can afford or to afford the home they currently have. According to federal and state standards, a household should spend no more than 30 percent of its income on housing costs, including utilities; otherwise, families may not have enough income for other basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, medical care and education. In 2020, more than a third of Rhode Island households, or 140,535, were housing cost burdened. Of these households, nearly 43 percent are severely cost burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.

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Providence, RI 02903

RI Alliance for Healthy Homes

A project of
HousingWorks RI