The Narragansett Times: Narragansett seeks ways to bolster affordable housing stock

NARRAGANSETT — Speaking to a legislative commission earlier this month, Narragansett Town Planner Michael DeLuca described some of the challenges Narragansett and other Washington County communities are facing in attempting to supply more affordable housing.

DeLuca, representing eight towns in Washington County, explained a variety of issues with the current Rhode Island Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, passed in 2004, which mandates that 10 percent of a municipality's housing stock be designated as affordable housing. Currently, the state only grants that designation to deed-restricted units on government-subsidized properties. In testimony to the Special Legislative Commission to Study the Low to Moderate Income Housing Act, a group chaired by state Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) with members including Rep. Blake Filippi (R-Dist. 36, Block Island, Charlestown, Westerly, South Kingstown), DeLuca argued certain properties that are not currently designated as affordable housing under the mandate, such as in-law apartments, apartments rented with Section 8 vouchers and properties with “natural” affordability, should be included.

“The presence of several forms of 'natural' affordability is not accounted for anywhere in the current law,” said DeLuca. “As noted by Glocester, the existence of dozens of mobile homes in defined neighborhoods that sell well below the average cost of a subsidized permanent home should be rightly acknowledged and accepted in each town's qualified inventory.”

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Courtesy of The Narragansett Times
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