RIHousing Bolsters Housing through Community Development Program
$200,000 in funding supports five programs in Pawtucket/Central Falls, Providence and Woonsocket
PROVIDENCE, RI – RIHousing’s Board of Commissioners last month approved $200,000 in funding for programs to support homeownership, financial counseling and green infrastructure activities. Funded via the agency’s Community Development Program (CDP), awards were made to six programs in Woonsocket, Providence and Pawtucket/Central Falls.
The CDP program supports an array of activities, including: programs that support the viability of housing financed by RIHousing; that promote homeownership opportunities, especially those with outreach strategies to increase racial and ethnic diversity; that promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability; that incorporate and promote access to the arts, food/healthy eating options, and/or foster the use of transit for residents; and those that stabilize housing for Rhode Islanders.
“Opening doors to homeownership and ensuring residents have the financial ‘know-how’ to rent or own a home are vital to ensuring Rhode Islanders can thrive,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Environmental sustainability, healthy eating and exercise are also essential aspects of healthy homes and families.”
Earlier this year, RIHousing issued a Request for Proposals under a competitive process to seek applications for the CDP funding. RIHousing received twenty-four (24) complete proposals for CDP funding, totaling more than $1 million in requested funding. Selected proposals best fit the priority activities and criteria of the program.
The programs awarded funding are:
ONE Neighborhood Builders, Providence:
- Accessing Home Program (renter focused): Program to equip renters with the resources necessary to acquire and maintain affordable, high-quality housing. Will provide tenant education to both prospective and current tenants aimed at helping them avoid eviction and realize their financial self-sufficiency goals.
- Elmwood Financial Center (homeownership focused): A “one-stop” financial services center that provides financial capability coaching, financial literacy workshops, landlord/tenant classes, homebuyer education, access to bank personnel and resources, access to down-payment assistance and home maintenance loans, and introductions to vetted contractors.
Pawtucket Central Falls Development, Pawtucket/Central Falls:
- Homeownership Program: Offers homebuyer classes, landlord classes, and financial fitness classes (in English and Spanish). Homebuyer classes include one-on-one counseling sessions where a customized plan of action is created.
St. Elizabeth Community, Providence/Statewide:
- Support and Services at Home – Health Logistics Database: Funding to complete the 3rd year of a 3-year pilot of a housing-based service model, Support and Services at Home (SASH), at The Saint Elizabeth Place. Long term goal of partnering with the state to bring the model to scale at all affordable senior housing in RI. This database allows for targeted, specific evidence-based programs to target supports and services at the right time and place, thereby reducing avoidable hospital and emergency room visits.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Woonsocket:
- Clean, Green, and Healthy Ambassadors Program: Middle and High school students will be trained as environmental, financially savvy, and health conscious community ambassadors. Once trained, they will be incentivized to share their knowledge with the broader community, furthering energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, financial capabilities, access to arts and cultural programming, and knowledge of exercise and healthy eating.
Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, Olneyville, Providence:
- Greening and Cleaning Manton Ave: Green infrastructure for storm runoff along a portion of Manton Ave near Olneyville Square.
“These investments continue our efforts to more Rhode Island forward by providing critical funds and tools to residents that enhance their quality of life and create opportunities for the people who live in these communities,” noted Fields. “I am very excited that these programs will have a profound impact on the surrounding communities: from “greening and cleaning” efforts along the Woonasquatucket, to engaging students and young adults in environmental stewardship efforts, to ensuring Rhode Islanders are fiscally fit, we are excited to see these efforts move forward.”
With this recent round of awards, RIHousing has provided over $1.2 million to 30 programs in seven Rhode Island municipalities – as well as a number of statewide efforts – since 2015. Previous grant funds have been used for afterschool youth programming, youth employment training, arts and cultural space, and homeownership education. Recipients sign one-year contracts to ensure the funding goes to programs that are ready to proceed and will have the greatest impact within their respective communities.
RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. RIHousing provides loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders find, rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, RIHousing is a self-sustaining corporation and receives no state funding for operations. For more information regarding RIHousing, visit www.RIHousing.com or follow us @RIHousing on Facebook and Twitter.