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Learn about RIHousing, including Featured News, Key Projects, and The Team.
RIHousing is a self-supporting public agency created by the General Assembly in 1973 to provide financing to increase the supply of affordable housing for families with low or moderate incomes.
Pursuant to its enabling legislation, RIHousing is authorized to issue bonds and other obligations to fulfill its corporate purpose. In addition to its bond programs, the corporation administers the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program, the HOME Investments Partnership Program, the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, as well as other state and federal programs.
The corporation supports its staff and operating expenses through bond fund earnings, federal grant administration fees and interest income. RIHousing does not receive state appropriations for its operating budget.
preserving important piece of state’s heritage
Providence, RI – Governor Dan McKee, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin, Rhode Island Housing and state and local leaders today announced the beginning of the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the historic Arctic Mill into rental housing and commercial space. The Arctic Mill development is the adaptive reuse of two separate historic textile mill buildings into a mixed-use complex comprised of both commercial space and residential rental apartments.
“As Rhode Island continues to lead the region in economic recovery, the Arctic Mill project promises to increase our state’s affordable and market-rate and housing supply while creating good paying jobs in the construction and aligned trades all while reinvigorating one of Rhode Island’s historic mills” said Governor Dan McKee. “For Rhode Island to be an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family, we must address the availability and quality of housing – that means everything from providing supports to those experiencing homelessness, to increasing affordable housing, to ensuring we build more workforce housing for our middle-class families. Our Administration’s quarter-billion-dollar housing proposal currently before the General Assembly will allow Rhode Island to do more projects like this and create much needed housing options at all levels.”
“This is about preserving our history, investing in the future, and revitalizing neighborhoods. I’m pleased that this project will utilize federal investments to breathe new life into this historic property and do so in a way that will ensure more working families can afford a place to live and new businesses can find a place to thrive,” said Senator Reed.
“Creating more affordable housing options for working Rhode Island families is essential to economic growth and development throughout Rhode Island,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “The transformation taking place at Arctic Mill is a win-win for our state as it’s expanding rental housing options while also preserving a significant piece of our state’s history.”
Located along the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, the 19th century Arctic Mill is currently being rehabilitated by Knight Street Capital, the developer responsible for the recent rehabilitation of Pontiac Mills in Warwick. The redevelopment effort will produce a total of 136 rental units, 105 which will be market rate and 31 for households earning up 100% of Area Median Income (AMI). Once completed, the development will also feature 10,000 square feet of office and retail space, including an onsite brew pub.
The funding for Arctic Mill comes from various sources, including Federal Historic Tax Credits, RIHousing’s Workforce Housing Loan, the Rebuild RI Tax Credit program, and developer equity. The total development cost is $32.7 million. Administered by Commerce RI, the RebuildRI Tax Credit program provides gap financing for commercial office, industrial, residential, mixed-use development, ground-up construction, and historic rehab, offering redeemable tax credits covering up to 20% – and, in some cases, 30% – of project costs. The state program helps qualified developers and business owners close financing gaps in projects that promise to deliver economic development benefits. The Rebuild Rhode Island tax credit is not paid out until the project has received a certificate of occupancy and then is paid out over 5 years.
“Adaptive reuse projects like Artic Mill exemplify the mix of creativity and determination needed to push the needle forward and address the shortage of units in communities across the State,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. “The rehabilitation of this facility into a mixed-use, mixed-income development will assure we will create the housing infrastructure needed to ensure our communities continue to economically thrive, while paying homage to our State’s industrial history.”
“West Warwick is proud of our historic industrial past,” said West Warwick Town Manager Colonel Mark Knott. “Many of our residents remember working and growing up in the surrounding neighborhood, raising families, supporting one another and creating a tight-knit community in its shadows. The renovation of the property ensures this over 150 year old structure will play an important role in our town’s future.”
Built in 1865 using the stone walls of an earlier mill structure built in 1852 on the site, the main mill building sits alongside a stone dam on the Pawtuxet River in the Arctic section of West Warwick. In 1885, the property was bought by B. B. & R. Knight, who operated 35,824 spindles and 1,039 looms in the mill. The mill continued to be used for textile manufacture into the 20th century before being used by NATCO Products Corporation, which occupied the mill until recently. A second building on the site, a former guardhouse will be renovated for commercial use.
“It’s an exciting day to celebrate what will be a true transformation of this historic property,” said Larry Phillips, Knight Street Capital. “We recognize that Rhode Islanders need a range of housing options and at different price points. The homes we are creating here will meet a growing demand for both market rate and middle-income housing.”
RIHousing’s Workforce Housing program seeks to expand the range of housing options available in Rhode Island by addressing the affordable housing needs of a segment of the state’s population who are increasingly caught in the gap between rising market rents and ineligibility for other affordably assisted housing.
“There is a growing awareness of the challenges facing middle-income workers. Today’s high demand paired with low supply has driven housing prices up and out of reach for many middle-income workers, and many local governments are exploring and implementing strategies to stimulate the creation of workforce housing,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “The WHIC program is one important tool that helps respond to the need for middle-income housing by filling a growing and significant gap in a tight housing market of rising rents that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new rental homes will help meet the need for rental options in the central part of the state. The property’s central location provides easy access to major highways as well as public transportation, shopping, recreational and educational facilities. Once completed, the property will include a variety of amenities including media rooms, a boxing gym, breakout rooms and more. The architects for the project are Urban Design Group, LLC.
Providence, RI – The federally funded RentReliefRI program closes to new applications at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Launched in March of last year, the program provides financial assistance to cover rent arrears, forward facing rent, utility arrears and certain other housing expenses. Funded via the U.S. Treasury, the federally-funded RentReliefRI program provides financial assistance to eligible Rhode Island renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We launched the RentReliefRI program during a stressful time for Rhode Island renters due to job losses and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Now, 14 months later, thousands of Rhode Island renter households have been able to remain in their homes, stay current on their rent and utilities and look toward a brighter future.’’
The RentReliefRI program was funded via $200 million from the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260) and an additional $152 million in ERA funding in the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2). To date, over 30,000 Rhode Island renter households have been approved for more than $200 million in rental and/or utility assistance from the program.
RIHousing announced the closing of the program to new applications early last month as the agency anticipated that all remaining RentReliefRI funds allocated to financial assistance to renters would soon be depleted. Completed applications submitted prior to 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022, will continue to be processed and those that meet eligilibity guidelines will be eligible to receive assistance after the closing date, which will be limited to past due rent and utilities, current month’s rent and three (3) months forward-facing rent, after which time there will be no further financial assistance under the RentReliefRI program.
The program’s success was due in part to a vast network of partner agencies who supplied support and application assistance to renters as well as an outreach effort, which included in-person application assistance events at locations across the state. One of the most successful aspects of the program has been the eviction diversion efforts with partner staff located at all Rhode Island courthouses hearing evictions. Partners were able to meet one-on-one with renters and their landlords in order to assist with applications and avoid evictions.
“RIHousing is grateful for the support and partnership received from a wide variety of elected officials, municipalities, state agencies, utility carriers and the non-profit community,” noted Ventura. “Collectively, these partnerships allowed us to reach Rhode Islanders across the state, remove barriers, and assist renter households in accessing these important funds.”
Available statewide, to date, the top ten municipalities based on funding approvals are: Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Cranston, Central Falls, North Providence, West Warwick, Warwick, East Providence, and Johnston. Program data illustrates that of the approved applications, 61% of applicants represent minority populations, 68% are female heads of household, and 72% are households earning less than 30% area median income (AMI), which translates into roughly $26,500 annual income for a family of four in most parts of the State.
RentReliefRI staff will continue their review of program applications submitted prior to today’s deadline over the coming weeks and months. It is anticipated that the federal funds will all be depleted by September 2022.
Details and information on the status of program applications and funding approvals is available online at www.rihousing.com/rent-relief-ri-dashboard/.
Providence, RI – Governor Dan McKee and RIHousing announced the award of $150,000 in funds to help Rhode Island develop a pipeline of sustainable, affordable and service-enriched housing developments that address specific healthcare and affordable housing needs in Rhode Island communities that require it most. The funds will help RIHousing, the state’s housing finance agency, to establish a Housing, Health and Equity Partnership with a broad range of entities and community organizations across the state.
“This work is timely and needed,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The intersection of housing and healthcare is important to our state and its residents. Where people live directly affects their well-being and future outcomes. These grant funds will help us to broaden the affordable housing conversation and partnerships to include healthcare leaders, funders, local community groups and others to further expand the available capital and commitment to affordable housing production.”
The grant funding comes from the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ (NCSHA) Healthy Housing, Healthy Communities (H3C) Partnerships initiative, made possible with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and technical assistance and expertise from the Center for Community Investment. Rhode Island is one of six grantees to be awarded grant funding and technical assistance to support partnership efforts with hospitals and health systems to expand financing for affordable housing. Grant funding will help develop strategic partnerships with hospitals and other health organizations to finance affordable housing.
“Safe, stable, affordable housing is foundational to better health outcomes,” said Carolyn E. Belisle, Managing Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). “BCBSRI is excited to join this powerful partnership. The work ahead aligns with our commitment to finding new ways to finance and develop supportive housing and services that meet the needs of all Rhode Islanders. The grant creates a unique opportunity to strengthen the role of healthcare systems in addressing critical housing needs.”
H3C funding will leverage existing healthcare system investments in the housing sector, including a newly negotiated $4 million investment from BCBSRI to LISC Rhode Island. RIHousing will utilize grant funds to develop a health, housing and equity plan of action building on the work that five of the state’s Health Equity Zones (HEZ) have initiated, in partnership with LISC Rhode Island, healthcare providers, for and non-profit organizations and community groups.
Established by the RI Department of Health, HEZs are community-led, multi-sector collaboratives that work in the state’s most under resourced neighborhoods to address persistent health disparities and strengthen social determinants of health, including housing. The five partnering HEZs are in the six cities with the highest child poverty rates in the state: Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
To ensure that local communities are effectively and highly engaged in the planning process and to ensure a deep commitment to racial and social equity, steering committee partners will work closely with the lead or “backbone” organizations from each of five HEZs.
“We’re excited to be part of this important effort to establish a formal housing and healthcare sector collaboration in Rhode Island,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC RI. “LISC fully understands that housing insecurity has emerged as the most impactful social determinant of health as healthcare costs have soared, vacancy rates have plunged, and incomes have remained stagnant. We are committed to leveraging our HEZ work, statewide outreach, and decades of affordable housing investment to help Rhode Island establish meaningful collaborations between housing and healthcare entities to broaden investment opportunities for housing production and services.”
The H3C grant aims to leverage the role RIHousing, LISC RI and BCBSRI to attract significant health institution involvement and elevate community-level leadership in addressing the housing affordability crisis in Rhode Island. Community-level leadership and engagement will play a key role in the effort partnership.
“RIHousing looks forward to facilitating an inclusive planning process to assemble and align resources across healthcare, housing, support services, and community-based providers to finance new affordable housing units in up to five Health Equity Zones (HEZs) across the state,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “We are committed to creating a durable and replicable model that will leverage healthcare sector investments statewide to significantly expand Rhode Island’s supply of affordable and supportive housing while creating more healthy households and communities.”
By the end of the planning process, RIHousing will have developed a_ Housing, Health, and Equity Partnership Plan_ that specifies financial and other commitments the agency and its partners will make to develop or preserve affordable housing in a manner that improves community health and advances social and racial equity. A critical outcome of this effort will be the development of a diverse pipeline of healthcare supported affordable housing projects within the targeted HEZs. Additionally, the Housing, Health and Equity Partnership will work to establish a vehicle through which new projects can be identified and advanced within additional HEZs, cities and towns statewide.
Learn more about the NCSHA’s H3C Partnership initiative here.