Governor joined by Legislative Leadership, RIHousing, and housing advocates to announce $12 million in State Fiscal Recovery Funds for the acquisition of properties for redevelopment as affordable and supportive housing
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Governor Dan McKee, and state leaders announced the availability of new funding to support the creation of affordable and supportive housing. Funded via the state’s allocation of federal Fiscal Recovery Funds, the Site Acquisition Program will provide grants to municipalities and for-profit or non-profit developers for the acquisition of properties that will be developed as affordable and supportive housing. $12 million in funding from the Governor’s “Rhode Island Rebounds” package is available for this statewide effort.
This program will ensure that non-profit and for-profit developers, municipalities and public housing authorities can secure land, therefore kickstarting a pipeline of projects that will increase the supply of supportive housing and affordable rental and homeownership opportunities across the state.
“I’m excited to be able to provide yet another critical funding tool to help Rhode Island meet the housing needs of our residents,” said Governor McKee. “Ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have access to a safe and affordable home is critical to the success of Rhode Island families, our communities and our state. It’s why I’ve made housing a top legislative priority and why I am committed to my ‘Rhode Island Rebounds’ plan for spending federal SFRF funds allocated to Rhode Island as it is the boost our state needs. These investments will help alleviate the housing shortfall and affordability crisis while reinvigorating our state’s economy.”
“Solutions to address Rhode Island’s affordable housing crisis will require the participation and support of numerous stakeholders working collaboratively and creatively,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “I’m proud that the Site Acquisition Program has the support of so many community leaders and housing professionals. ‘Build more,’ I hear again and again! Well this program will certainly allow us to do just that!”
Last fall, Governor McKee filed and received approval for a supplemental budget amendment with the General Assembly on his Rhode Island Rebounds plan to invest approximately 10 percent of the State’s $1.13 billion American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds in Rhode Island’s families, workers, small businesses and housing. Under his proposal for housing, McKee’s plan included $12 million allocated for a property acquisition grant program. Today’s announcement kicks off the housing component of the Governor’s Rhode Island Rebounds Plan with the launch of the Site Acquisition Program (SAP).
“Simply put, the demand for affordable homes greatly outpaces the available supply in our state, which puts too many hard-working Rhode Islanders in a position of housing insecurity,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “We are excited that these critically-needed federal funds will be put to work right here in Rhode Island to help us meet the current and future housing needs of our residents.”
“In the past year, we’ve made historic progress to address our state’s housing crisis,” said Senator Meghan E. Kallman, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Housing & Municipal Government. “We know, however, that housing insecurity remains an all-too-common reality for many in our communities. The $12 million in grant funding being made available through the Site Acquisition Program will help our state realize sorely needed affordable and supportive housing developments. It will help us ensure that everyone who calls Rhode Island home, has a home.”
Rhode Island Housing will administer the program on behalf of the state. Program funding will be available via a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be released next week. Applications for funding will be accepted on a rolling basis as long as funding is available.
“For decades, our state has invested insufficiently in housing. Today we take an important step forward. By enabling the acquisition of sites for affordable housing, we’re truly laying the groundwork for future development. In conjunction with other housing investments and initiatives, this program will make a major difference,” said Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. “Thank you to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the General Assembly, and municipal leaders for their focus on this critical issue – and for providing the resources to make this program possible.”
“By prioritizing the immediate funding of a statewide acquisition program, Governor McKee and the legislature are addressing the need to expeditiously secure properties for affordable housing and tackle the state’s housing challenges head-on,” said Josh Saal, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Housing. “This program and the new proposed financing initiatives will help catalyze the creation of needed affordable housing across the State. We call on interested developers, whether for-profit or non-profit, as well as municipalities and public housing authorities to step up and collaboratively work towards building stronger communities together.”
“We want to thank our federal and state leaders for providing these important funding resources to assist in the creation of new affordable housing options for Rhode Islanders,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “It is anticipated that SAP funds will be matched with other public and private funds to bring projects to completion, attracting additional funding to support the creation of affordable homes, producing good paying jobs in the construction and trades, and building strong communities.”
The income of households occupying housing assisted with SAP funding is limited to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $62,300 for a three-person household in most parts of the state. Eligible properties include vacant lots as well as residential and commercial sites across Rhode Island. In order to ensure funds are utilized to meet the pressing housing demand, applicants must demonstrate that they are ready to commence redevelopment of properties.
The announcement event was held in Olneyville at the site of a recently redeveloped property acquired by One Neighborhood Builders through RIHousing’s Land Bank program. The SAP is modeled after the RIHousing Land Bank program.
“We are pleased to host Governor McKee at King Street Commons, where RIHousing’s Land Bank program allowed us to develop 30 new affordable apartments in Olneyville and develop a state-of-the-art child care facility to be operated by Children’s Friend,” said Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders. “Without the Land Bank program, we would not have been able to purchase the 2.2 acres of land. Especially in this hot real estate market, it is crucial to have access to flexible acquisition capital. We are so grateful to Governor McKee, Speaker Shekarchi, and President Ruggerio for investing $12 million into the RIHousing Land Bank program to help ensure that housing developers can quickly purchase property and develop more affordable homes.”
A maximum of $1 million will be awarded to selected projects and at least a 30-year deed restriction enforcing affordability and income requirements will be recorded on all properties assisted with SAP funds. Upon release of the program RFP additional information, program guidelines and details on how to apply will be found online at: www.rihousing.com/rfps-rfqs.
The Governor has requested an additional $13 million in ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds funds as part of his proposed FY 2023 budget for the property acquisition grant program which, if approved by the General Assembly, would bring the total funding available for the program to $25 million.