Providence, RI – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $354,369 to Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation to assist youth with a history of foster care involvement who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and families whose lack of adequate housing is the primary reason their children are in foster care. This funding, offered through HUD’s Family Unification Program (FUP), will provide 28 housing vouchers to youth and families in Rhode Island.
“Rhode Island is fortunate to have excellent and dedicated service providers working with families and youth in the state,” said HUD New England Regional Administrator Juana Matias. “HUD is proud to partner with such strong allies for this important program that will assist youth and families with housing and critical services. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Rhode Island Housing, the continuum of care, state and nonprofit partners to increase access to resources and ensure we are placing families on a path towards permanent housing.”
As part of FUP, public housing authorities (PHA) partner with public child welfare agencies (PCWAs), and Continuums of Care (CoC) to offer Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) to two groups:
PHAs administer the FUP in partnership with PCWAs, which are responsible for referring FUP families and youths to the PHA for the determination of eligibility for rental assistance. After the PCWA makes the referral, the PHA places the FUP applicant on its waiting list, assesses whether the family or youth meets HCV program eligibility requirements, and manages all other processes related to voucher issuance and administration.
“Ensuring every family and child has a safe and stable place to call home is a basic, core community commitment that helps give our youth the best possible chance to succeed. With these new federal housing vouchers, more Rhode Island families will be able to live together and thrive together and youth aging out of foster care will be better supported as they enter adulthood,” said Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “I look forward to seeing these vouchers helping our most vulnerable Rhode Islanders.”
“These federal vouchers will help youth and families who have been through a difficult time get safe, supportive housing and most importantly, stay together with loved ones, as they regain their footing,” said** Senator Sheldon Whitehouse**. “Well done to RIHousing and DCYF on securing these vouchers, as this is the first time in years that Rhode Island has received them.”
“Every young person deserves a loving family and a stable home,” said Congressman Seth Magaziner. “I am excited that Rhode Island is receiving a federal Family Unification Voucher award, and am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that all young Rhode Islanders can have a happy and safe childhood.”
“I am excited that our state has received over $350,000 in critical federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Unification Program to support our youth and families’ efforts to access more permanent and stable housing,” said Congressman Gabe Amo. “This program is vital to ensuring that families and children have the resources to remain together. I am eager to see the positive impact that these funds will have on the lives of Rhode Islanders and our critical mission to reduce and ultimately end homelessness.”
“Addressing family homelessness is a key area of focus, and through HUD’s Family Unification Program, we are providing essential support to Rhode Island’s vulnerable youth and families,” said Secretary of Housing Stefan Pryor. “This creative partnership will change lives and use resources more efficiently. We thank the collaboration of our federal partners, our congressional delegation, RIHousing, Department of Children Youth and Families, Foster Forward, Family Services of RI, and others.”
“RIHousing is proud to be an implementer and administrator of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Unification Program, in partnership with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families,” said Carol Ventura, CEO of RIHousing. “This program will provide crucial housing and supportive services to Rhode Island’s most vulnerable youth, ensuring families stay together. We look forward to administering and expanding this important program to provide Rhode Island youth and families with stability and opportunities for growth.”
“These FUP vouchers are critical to families and young people legally involved with DCYF who face housing instability challenges. This is a key step forward in DCYF efforts to ensure children are reunited with their parents when the only challenge is lack of housing,” said DCYF Director Ashley Deckert. “This also supports our efforts to ensure young people leaving our Voluntary Extension of Care (VEC) Program are able to continue to have a safe place to live. We appreciate the Governor and Secretary Pryor’s leadership on finding solutions to Rhode Island’s housing crisis and our ongoing partnerships with RIHousing, Family Services of RI and Foster Forward in addressing these needs.”
“A safe and affordable home is the cornerstone of stability and well-being for children and families,” said Family Service of RI CEO Margaret Holland McDuff. “These FUP vouchers are a tool to help families access a home and the support they need, so they can remain together or achieve reunification. I cannot think of more heartwarming news this holiday season! FSRI is truly excited and so thankful to HUD, RIHousing, DCYF and Foster Forward for their partnership that made this possible.”
“These federally funded vouchers are a transformational resource in our work to end homelessness for youth and families who are currently unhoused,” said Lisa Guillette, Executive Director of Foster Forward. “The vouchers make housing affordable, and our ability to couple this with comprehensive services to support their self-sufficiency strengthens our work with youth and families as well as all of our communities.”