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Providence, RI – RIHousing announced today a new partnership with Centreville Bank to assist RentReliefRI applicants who do not have access to a traditional bank account. RentReliefRI is a program that provides rental and utility assistance to help eligible renters maintain housing stability. The partnership provides banking access to applicants who receive direct rental payments but lack an account or an existing relationship with a financial institution. With the announcement of this new partnership, Centreville Bank will establish an account for direct payment recipients to deposit their RentReliefRI check and have the funds paid to their landlord(s) via cashier’s check.
“I commend Centreville Bank for stepping up to offer their services and expertise to help Rhode Island renters,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This innovative partnership between a quasi-public entity and a traditional banking institution is the kind of creative thinking and doing we need to remove barriers for Rhode Islanders requesting help.”
Typically, once a RentReliefRI application is approved for rental assistance, funds are distributed to participating landlords via direct deposit or check. In situations where the landlord refuses to participate, the rental payment goes directly to the tenant, who then pays the landlord to have any pending eviction dismissed or avoid an eviction filing altogether. For tenants who receive RentReliefRI checks but lack an existing banking relationship, it can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to convert a multi-thousand-dollar check into payment to their landlord, creating a significant barrier to their ability to remit payment and remain in their homes.
“I want to thank Centreville Bank for working closely with us to establish this relationship and provide a pathway for renters,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “The vast majority of RentReliefRI payments go directly to landlords, but in situations where landlords do not agree to participate, this partnership removes a significant barrier and allows renters to make their rental payments and remain stably housed.”
Transactions will be processed on the renter’s behalf through a dedicated account that allows tenants to manage the funds they receive for payment without incurring any deposit or withdrawal transaction fees. The account allows a cashier check distribution of the funds with no fees associated with the issuance of the bank check. Centreville Bank will work closely with RIHousing to efficiently facilitate transactions and protect customer information, while offering a level of assurance and confidence regarding the validity of the checks for landlords.
“This partnership is truly representative of who we are as a community bank,” said Hal Horvat, President and CEO of Centreville Bank. “An opportunity to provide a financial service that addresses a need in our community, particularly around the area of economic security, is a natural fit that combines our expertise in banking and the efforts of the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation. We are excited to partner with RIHousing to eliminate barriers that prevent Rhode Islanders from remaining in their homes.”
Centreville Bank has designated its Cranston branch location at 193 Comstock Parkway to handle all RentReliefRI-related account openings and transactions. The Cranston staff is an experienced, bi-lingual team of employees trained to support RentReliefRI clients with their needs. Renters can go directly to the branch with their RentReliefRI check to start the process at any time during regular business hours.
Launched in March of last year, the RentReliefRI program provides financial assistance to cover rent arrears, forward facing rent, utility arrears and certain other housing expenses. Information on the RentReliefRI program can be found at www.RentReliefRI.com.
**RentReliefRI is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA0013 awarded to the State of Rhode Island by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
**About Centreville Bank
**Founded in 1828 and headquartered in West Warwick, Rhode Island, Centreville Bank is a full-service mutual bank operating through nine branch locations in Coventry, Cranston (two locations), East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, West Greenwich, Warwick, West Warwick, and a loan production office in Providence. In addition, Centreville Bank serves the Eastern Connecticut market with eight offices located in Danielson, Gales Ferry (Ledyard), Griswold, Norwich, Plainfield, Pomfret, and Putnam (two locations). Centreville currently has total assets of $1.9 billion. For more information, please visit www.centrevillebank.com.