Legislation seeks $75M bond for affordable housing

Two bills before the Rhode Island General Assembly this year propose a bond issue on the November 2006 ballot to provide $75 million for affordable housing.

The legislation, if approved for the ballot and if approved by voters, would more than double annual state spending on affordable home construction and would provide subsidies for developers, grants for communities for infrastructure improvements to build housing, and grants for employers who create housing-assistance programs. A $10-million portion of the bond would be designated to the state Housing and Conservation Trust Fund as start-up money for a permanent source of funding for housing and open space programs.

The $75 million bond issue would create more than 1,000 affordable homes over the next five years and help cities and towns with their plans to build 2,500 affordable units.

The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr., D-Smithfield, North Smithfield, and is currently before the Senate Committee on Finance, scheduled for a hearing Friday.

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Rep. Thomas C. Slater, D-Providence, introduced the House version of the bill. That bill is before the House Committee on Finance and is co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Hopkinton, Westerly.