Providence, RI –
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Governor Daniel McKee, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joined leaders from Crossroads Rhode Island, RIHousing, the Providence Housing Authority and other community organizations today to celebrate the completion of 30 newly-renovated housing units for formerly homeless families.
“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,” said Karen Santilli, President and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island. “I’d like to thank our entire congressional delegation, our leaders in state government and our community partners for supporting this housing project. 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 recently-completed project, which is the result of a partnership between Crossroads Rhode Island, RIHousing and the Providence Housing Authority, comes as the number of families experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island increased by 12 percent over the last year. Economic fallout from COVID-19, as well as a critical shortage of housing that families with very low incomes can afford, have both contributed to the rise in family homelessness.
“I created the national Housing Trust Fund to provide a dedicated source of federal funding to help increase the supply of affordable housing and I’m pleased this money is being put to good use here in Rhode Island. Investing in quality, affordable housing goes hand-in-hand with building stronger communities and smart economic development. I will continue working to deliver federal funding to Rhode Island and we must build off of the success of the Housing Trust Fund,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who created the National Housing Trust Fund in 2008.
“A parent’s ability to hold a steady job and get kids off to school on time starts with having a safe, comfortable place to call home,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “These newly renovated apartments will allow families who have experienced homelessness to get back on their feet.”
Crossroads Family Housing features 30 extensively-renovated apartments located in 14 different buildings in Providence. These homes provide permanent, safe, affordable and respectful housing for families with very low incomes who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as case management and other services as needed to help these families thrive. Apartments will be affordable to households earning less than 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $29,950 for a family of four.
“A safe, suitable home is something we should never take for granted, yet so many families and children struggle to afford a place to live,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I want to thank the congressional delegation, Crossroads Rhode Island, RIHousing and the Providence Housing Authority for completing this project to give 30 families a new beginning. Rhode Island is facing a housing crisis, which is at the root of so many issues in our communities, and this is a major step towards creating a more equitable future for all Rhode Islanders.”
“Over the past 15 months, we have seen how important reliable and safe housing is for our residents,” stated Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I want to thank the partners and funders for their hard work to leverage public and private dollars to create homes for hardworking Rhode Islanders. I firmly believe that housing is a basic human right, and I look forward to seeing more projects like this come to fruition. To our 30 families, I say, welcome home!”
The extensive renovations included new interiors, appliances, insulation, heating, exterior renovations, and handicap accessibility The work was funded by a combination of federal and state funding sources including almost $4 million in total from the federal Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) programs, $2.5 million from the state bond program Building Homes RI (BHRI), and $627,378 from the Preservation Revitalization Deferred Loan Program, which provides funding to address capital repairs.
“This project represents another milestone for an equitable housing future in Rhode Island,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “This historic investment is an important step towards a just and equitable future for our residents, and by increasing access to safe and affordable housing, we are laying out a blueprint to build a more resilient community. I am thrilled that these units will see new life as homes for families who need them most right here in Providence.”
“Creating the kinds of thoughtful, affordable and safe homes you see here today takes numerous partners, years of hard work and dedication, and funding from a variety of sources,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Every dollar of financing goes a long way to ensuring Rhode Islanders have a roof over their heads, individuals working in the construction and allied fields remain employed, neighborhoods are revitalized, and our state is made stronger.”
In addition to providing permanent supportive housing for residents, Crossroads Family Housing secured support from the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) to ensure tenants’ rent will not exceed 30% of their income. PHA has provided project-based vouchers that will subsidize 19 of the units in the project through its Section 8 funding for a twenty year period.
“This is such a challenging time for Rhode Islanders to find affordable housing, and it is particularly difficult for families who are experiencing homelessness,” said Melissa Sanzaro, Executive Director of the PHA. “We are thrilled to be able to help subsidize this project through our Project Based Voucher program and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing in the community.”