Celebrate New Homes in Burrillville**
Providence, RI – RIHousing, Rhode Island’s housing finance agency, has been selected as the recipient of two national awards for program excellence from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). The awards recognize RIHousing’s collaborative efforts to reduce energy and energy costs for low and moderate income renters and protect renters from discrimination based on income.
“It is an honor to win these national awards from our peers who understand that solving housing issues at a state-level is often a multi-faceted, multi-agency endeavor,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “While RIHousing was singled out for this recognition, both our ZEOS program and advocacy to enact source of income discrimination protection would not have been possible without the key collaboration and partnership of state and local partners.”
The NCSHA Annual Awards for Program Excellence identify and elevate industry best practices as well as encourage continued HFA innovation. In 2022, 40 HFAs submitted entries to the awards program which were presented at NCSHA’s 51st Annual Conference in October.
RIHousing was recognized with a ‘Multifamily Management’ award for the Zero Energy for the Ocean State (ZEOS) pilot program, a public-sector partnership between RIHousing, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and RI Energy (formerly National Grid) to explore innovative, replicable solutions to utilize cost saving, clean energy technologies in homes. Announced in 2019, the ZEOS program provides funding for the creation of highly energy efficient housing for low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders. To date, the ZEOS program has provided $1,365,000 for the development of 138 units across 8 development projects.
“As we come to understand the impact of climate change, we recognize housing’s contribution to greenhouse emissions and seek to create a smarter model for the construction of homes,” said Carol Ventura. “This program allows us to support renewable energy efforts, but also ensures that Rhode Island families have access to energy and cost-efficient housing options.”
The award for ‘State Advocacy’ recognizes the agency’s efforts to advocate for the passage of the Fair Housing Practices Act that provides protection against Source of Income discrimination in housing. As a member of the Income Discrimination Coalition, a broad cross-sector coalition of over 40 organizations, RIHousing co-facilitated and led the implementation of a grassroots advocacy campaign. This advocacy effort documented the scope of Source of Income discrimination, shared compelling multi-media materials to engage policymakers and helped Rhode Island become the 16th state in the nation to pass legislation to protect Section 8 voucher holders from this form of discrimination.
“As we work to create innovative, energy-efficient homes, it is equally important to ensure that Rhode Island families have fair and equitable access to them,” said Ventura. “We thank the many partners and allies that worked with us and state leaders to ensure that legal protections against source of income discrimination became law.”
For information on the ZEOS pilot program, visit www.rihousing.com/rihousing-oer-announce-request-for-proposals-for-green-energy-efficient-housing/. For information on the Fair Housing Practices Act, visit www.rihousing.com/wp-content/uploads/SOI-Information-Sheet-4-29-21.pdf