October 21, 2014

Rhode Island to Receive Over $8 Million in Housing Grants

Congressional Delegation Announces Federal Funding for East Providence and Providence

Providence, RI – Today U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced over $8 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for the cities of Providence and East Providence.

The funding will go to help the cities improve housing and expand economic opportunity in their communities; help homeless residents find shelter and access services; fund local programs and partnerships with non-profit organizations that supply affordable housing; and support state, local, and non-profit organizations that provide housing services to members of the community diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  

“This is a flexible source of federal funding that will help create jobs and boost economic development in Providence and East Providence.  It may be used for a range of initiatives to upgrade our infrastructure, increase affordable housing, improve public facilities, and partner with non-profits to address some of the greatest community needs,” said Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Banking Committee, which oversees these HUD programs, and a member of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds these HUD programs.

“Rhode Islanders are still dealing with a housing downturn that left many homeowners owing more than their house is worth, and renters all over the state are seeing their rents climb much faster than their paychecks,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “That’s why federal investment in affordable housing and supportive services is so important.  These funds will provide much-needed help to Rhode Island communities, and I congratulate all of today’s grant recipients.”

“Too many Rhode Islanders are just one paycheck away from homelessness.  A safe place to call home is the cornerstone to opportunity in our communities, and affordable housing is the antidote to homelessness,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.  “This grant funding will increase availability of and access to affordable housing, providing much-needed support and security for Rhode Island families.”

“This funding will help end homelessness in Rhode Island and provide low-income families with affordable housing options. We need to make sure that Rhode Islanders have a safe and affordable roof over their heads,” said Congressman David Cicilline.  “The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) award will also help local businesses grow and expand, investing in rebuilding and strengthening our local communities.”

Providence and East Providence have been awarded $5,028,707 and $673,082 respectively from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which aims to grow affordable housing and retain and expand local businesses in urban communities.  The CDBG program gives local governments flexibility to use the funds for a wide array of community development purposes. 

Providence will receive $1,151,171 from the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program, which funds housing initiatives, often in partnership with non-profit housing organizations.  Grantees may use the funds for direct rental assistance to low-income residents; building new affordable housing stock; or rehabilitating existing housing for affordable rent or homeownership.

Providence will also receive $419,904 from the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program and $867,427 from the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.  Formerly known as the Emergency Shelter Grants Program, ESG provides funds to combat homelessness through rehabilitating or operating homeless shelters and providing social services for those who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness.  HOPWA funds state and local governments and non-profit groups working to address the housing needs of residents living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

The federal government considers a household that devotes more than 30 percent of its income to mortgage or rent payments to be “cost burdened,” meaning it risks sacrificing spending on other essentials like food, clothing, medical care, or transportation.  According to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the non-profit housing coalition HousingWorks RI, more than a third of Rhode Island households are cost burdened, and 15 percent are considered “severely” cost burdened, spending more than half their income on a mortgage, rent, and utilities.


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