ProJo: R.I. needs more homes
Posted: Aug 18, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Rhode Island has long fallen short in meeting its housing needs, and it's gotten to the point where no matter where you turn, the numbers are bleak.
The state's per capita housing production was the lowest in the nation last year, and it's been either the lowest or one of the lowest for more than a decade.
The state's rental vacancy rate, a measure of how many apartments are available, was tied for lowest in the nation last year, and it too has been among the lowest for more than a decade.
The number of R.I. households that are “cost burdened” — struggling to make ends meet because more than 30 percent of their annual income goes to housing costs — has been rising. More than half of renter households and more than one in three households with a mortgage were cost-burdened in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.
And then we have the sobering numbers that HousingWorks RI has been sharing for many years, which show that a family with a median Rhode Island income can afford a median-priced home in just a few of the state's 39 cities and towns.
No wonder more than three out of four Rhode Islanders now see housing affordability as a serious issue, according to a recent WPRI 12/Roger Williams University poll.
Yet, our state leaders have done little. The most notable contribution, perhaps, has been a series of bonds that have been placed on the ballot and approved by voters. These bonds have provided $125 million since 2006, helping to produce nearly 3,000 subsidized, income-restricted “affordable” homes. But even here, Rhode Island falls short.
Courtesy of Providence Journal