A partnership in Providence RI between Crossroads Rhode Island, R.I. Housing, and the Providence Housing Authority has unveiled 30 newly-renovated housing units for formerly homeless families. The 30 apartments are located in 14 different buildings in Providence. The new renovations are said to include new interiors, appliances, insulation, heating, exterior renovations, and handicap accessibility.
President and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island Karen Santilli said “There’s nothing more heart-breaking than seeing a child have to pick up the school bus outside of a homeless shelter because of a housing shortage. Ending family homelessness in Rhode Island is entirely possible given adequate funding and the creation of more housing like this that families can actually afford.”
The COVID pandemic heightened and highlighted an already-dire affordable housing crisis in Rhode Island. The number of families experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island has grown by 12% over the last year, according to advocates. They attribute the increase to the financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, combined with an existing shortage statewide of housing that families with low incomes can afford.
The project was paid for by a combination of federal and state funding. A total of $4 million came from the federal Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund programs. Another $2.5 million came through the state bond program Building Homes RI. The Preservation Revitalization Deferred Loan Program, which provides funding to address capital repairs, covered $627,378.
The homes are intended to provide permanent, safe, affordable housing for families with very low incomes who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition, case management and other services will be available as needed to help the families excel. The apartments will be affordable to households earning less than 30% of area median income, or $29,950 for a family of four. Crossroads said they secured support from the Providence Housing Authority to ensure the tenants’ rent will not exceed 30% of their income.