WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help revitalize local neighborhoods and support affordable housing and economic development programs throughout the state, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that Rhode Island will receive over $25.5 million in federal aid this week through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Home Investment Partnership (HOME) program, the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.
The Rhode Island State Program is expected to receive $5,003,815 in CDBG funds; $3,016,971 in HOME funds; $3,000,000 in HTF funds, and $671,955 in ESG funds. Eligible communities may apply to the state, which annually allocates the federal CDBG funds through a competitive process. CDBG funds may be used to address a variety of needs from revitalizing distressed areas by improving streetscapes and sidewalks and supporting small businesses, to removing blight and assisting with infrastructure projects.
“These targeted investments will help create jobs, develop affordable housing, and boost economic development in neighborhoods and communities throughout Rhode Island. By leveraging these federal funds with local resources, cities and towns can enhance infrastructure and help businesses spur economic development,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over CDBG, HOME, HTF, ESG, and HOPWA and is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), which appropriates funds for the programs. “I am proud to deliver this federal funding for Rhode Island and will continue working to help cities and towns address some of their greatest needs.”
“These federal investments will benefit Rhode Islanders and our economy by making housing more affordable, creating construction jobs, and building neighborhoods that are better places to live and work,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Rhode Island is fortunate to have Senator Reed, who is a national leader on housing policy and was the driving force behind this funding.”
Both senators also noted that under President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 budget, CDBG, HOME, and HTF would be completely eliminated and ESG and HOPWA funds would be cut.
The CDBG program provides local municipalities with a flexible source of federal funding to address a wide range of neighborhood development needs. The funds may be used for capital-improvement projects or distributed to non-profit organizations that provide a benefit to the community. In addition to the over $5 million in CDBG funds the state will receive, several cities will be awarded CDBG funds, including: Cranston ($1,011,456), East Providence ($691,510), Pawtucket ($1,732,661), Providence ($4,681,082), Warwick ($873,550), and Woonsocket ($1,237,295).
The HOME program is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to expand the supply of quality, affordable housing to working families. Providence will receive $1,199,134 through this program, while Pawtucket will receive $407,524 and $330,974 will be provided to Woonsocket.
As a result of a law written by Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island will receive $3 million this year to help create affordable rental housing in communities throughout the state. Senator Reed created the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) in 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, to enable housing agencies to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable housing for Rhode Island residents with extremely limited means. To ensure that Rhode Island and other small states received a fair amount of funding, Senator Reed included a small state minimum of $3 million in the authorizing legislation.
“Affordable housing helps workers live closer to their jobs and spend more time with their families. A healthy housing market is key to future economic growth and vibrant communities where people want to live and work. These federal funds will help the state preserve and increase the number of affordable homes and strengthen our communities,” said Senator Reed.
The ESG program provides annual grants to state and local governments as well as private entities to upgrade and expand emergency homeless shelters. Providence ($427,127), Pawtucket ($156,088) and Woonsocket ($106,023) will all receive ESG funds this year.
Providence will receive $1,000,724 in federal HOPWA funds. HOPWA helps communities and nonprofit organizations offer housing assistance and related supportive services to low-income individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
All of these programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).