Homes RI: 'Homes RI' campaign shines spotlight on state's need for more affordable homes
For immediate release: September 18, 2018
Campaign calls on state leaders to invest in more affordable housing funding stream
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (September 18, 2018) - The “Homes RI” campaign was launched today to shine a spotlight on the increased need for Rhode Island to invest in building more affordable homes in cities and towns across the state, and to call on elected officials to pledge their support for more affordable homes.
Home buyers and renters, including low- and middle-income Rhode Islanders, are facing a housing market that simply cannot meet their needs. Soaring costs for homeownership and rent has resulted in both buyers and renters struggling to find any homes that are affordable statewide.
According to HousingWorks RI, in addition to a lack of existing affordable homes, new inventory is not being built to meet the state's needs. Just 1,226 building permits were issued in Rhode Island in 2016, with only 25% of those for multi-family units.
The “Homes RI” campaign is a joint effort of United Way of Rhode Island and housing and non-profit organizations, including: Housing Network of Rhode Island, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island, HousingWorks RI, Neighbors 4 Revitalization at the CYC, Rhode Island Community Action Association, R.I. Center for Justice, R.I. Homeless Advocacy Project, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition, and Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.
“A safe and affordable home is one of the most basic needs we have, and it's evident that too many Rhode Islanders are struggling to find one. So far in 2018, our 2-1-1 call center has received nearly 100,000 requests for housing-related help.” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “The demand for homes that are affordable in Rhode Island has never been more clear. We must take action.”
In 2016, the Question 7 'Housing Opportunity' bond was passed by voters to provide $50 million for the construction and rehabilitation of more than 800 affordable homeownership and rental housing units across Rhode Island, and to help cities and towns revitalize blighted and foreclosed properties. The bond was estimated to create 1,700 good paying jobs for the state's building and construction workers, to help local employers attract and retain a strong workforce, and to leverage $160 million in federal and private investment in local communities.
Even with this progress, Rhode Island falls short in comparison to its neighbors, with Massachusetts investing $100 per capita in affordable housing and Connecticut investing $85 per capital in FY2017. Without a consistent funding stream, Rhode Island only invests $5 per capita toward housing. The Homes RI campaign urges greater investment in housing at the state level — an investment that is urgent for Rhode Island families and for a healthy economy.
“Housing that is affordable and safe is critical for all Rhode Islanders. Without it, our children's education, our seniors' health, and maintaining our workforce are all at risk,” said Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI. “The path to economic opportunity begins at your front door.”
The Homes RI campaign will highlight case studies of affordable housing in communities across the state, and will work to build support for greater investment in housing.
For more information on the 'Homes RI' campaign, visit www.homesri.org