R.I. announces $80 million investment in affordable housing

THE CITY PLAN COMMISSION voted 5-0 on April 19 to approve a preliminary plan submitted by the nonprofit homeless service provider Crossroads Rhode Island for a five-story, 176-unit affordable housing apartment building at 94 Summer St. / COURTESY KITE ARCHITECTS/PLAN B DESIGN
GOV. DAN MCKEE and RIHousing announced an $80 million investment in affordable housing that will include the first part of a two-phase development with 176 units in a new building, shown above in a rendering, on Summer Street in Providence./COURTESY KITE ARCHITECTS/PLAN B DESIGN

EAST PROVIDENCE – Gov. Daniel J. McKee and Rhode Island Housing on Thursday announced that the state will invest over $80 million in 17 affordable housing projects across the Ocean State.

The funding, which comes from a combination of federal and state resources, will create and preserve more than 875 homes in the state, over 800 of which will be dedicated to affordable housing.

“Rhode Islanders need more homes they can afford,” McKee said Thursday in a statement. “Ensuring all Rhode Islanders have access to a safe and affordable home is critical to the success of Rhode Island families, our communities and our state.”

The governor said the investment will “strengthen the community” and support over 1,200 jobs.

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“These historic investments are laying the foundation for a bright future for our state and its residents,” said Carol Ventura, executive director of RIHousing. “Hundreds of new affordable homes will help to alleviate the housing pressures Rhode Island families face, while also putting people to work in high-demand construction and allied fields. These investments are a smart and strategic way to meet the housing demands of our state, put people to work, and help reinvigorate our economy.”

Sources for the funding include $15 million from the RI Rebounds initiative and $10 million from the Housing Production Fund. The funding will support developments across the state and help Rhode Island tackle its affordable housing supply shortage.

“Many of our neighbors are struggling with housing availability and affordability,” said Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. “These challenges did not occur overnight, and we can only start addressing these issues by building more affordable housing units. Long-term investments like the ones we are announcing today will go a long way towards keeping Rhode Islanders in healthy homes they can afford and be proud of.”

Some of the largest developments to get funding include: the first part of a two-phase development that will include 176 units in a new building on Summer Street, Providence, and a three-story garden-style building with 111 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments for elderly and disabled households in Bear Hill Village, in Cumberland.

McKee and Rhode Island Housing made the announcement from City Hall with East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva.

“Affordable Housing continues to be our priority for our administration as housing prices have become out of reach for residents,” DaSilva said. “East Providence will continue to work with investors and nonprofits to continue bring more affordable housing units to our city.”

This is only the latest in an ongoing effort from McKee and other state leaders to tackle the lack of affordable housing in the state.

In January, McKee signed RI Rebounds, his plan to invest $119 million from the American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds in small businesses and impacted industries. The plan included $29.5 million to support affordable housing production, promote housing stability and provide accessible broadband.

In December 2021, McKee announced an investment of over $30 million in affordable housing, made possible through the Building Homes Rhode Island program and able to produce or preserve more than 600 units in 13 cities and towns. Earlier this year, McKee and RIHousing announced a round of $60 million available for investment in affordable housing production.

The House on Thursday was considering a fiscal 2023 spending plan that includes $250 million McKee recommended for addressing the housing crisis, including $90 million for creating and preserving 1,500 units.

“Together, these investments will help alleviate the housing shortfall and affordability crisis while reinvigorating our economy,” McKee said. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real investment in our state’s future and put Rhode Island on a strong path forward. We’re ready to make the most of that opportunity.”

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