PROVIDENCE, RI — Homes RI, a coalition of organizations working together to increase the supply of safe, healthy and affordable homes throughout Rhode Island, has released their 2022 Housing Policy Candidate Guide. The candidate guide was crafted by housing practitioners, health equity experts, philanthropic organizations, and importantly, community members, residents and voters living and working in Rhode Island.
Soaring rents and home sales prices, which have increased by more than 20% in the past year, are crushing low and moderate income Rhode Island families with additional cost burden, stagnating housing supply and inventory, and stifling economic growth. Decades of underdevelopment has left Rhode Island with an estimated shortage of more than 24,000 apartments that are available and affordable to low income renters, who include seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, children, and people employed in fast-growing, but low-wage occupations.
Rhode Island’s Life Index, a measure of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of the quality of life in the Ocean State, consistently shows that we rate access to affordable, quality housing as poor, second only to cost of living. Access to a safe, healthy affordable home is a quality of life issue for every Rhode Islander. In an election year, voters are looking for candidates to respond to our state’s vast housing needs. This year, the RI General Assembly approved historic investments in affordable homes and passed legislation aimed at reducing regulatory and administrative barriers to housing development. This creates a solid foundation on which newly elected state and local legislators can build as housing is the most central facet of our quality of life and thriving, economically vibrant communities.
In a poll of likely Democratic primary voters conducted by Roger Williams University and WPRI, 91% of respondents identified the cost of housing as a serious concern. Homes RI’s candidate guide presents guidance on housing policy for those seeking elected office to serve the public. The guide outlines strategies to increase the supply of affordable homes, stabilize residents, and promote safe, healthy, and accessible homes. “We hope the Housing Policy Candidate Guide will be a valuable resource as candidates seek to elevate the issues that matter — and housing very much does — to their neighbors and fellow Rhode Islanders,” said Katie West, Manager of Strategic Initiatives at the Housing Network of Rhode Island, the backbone organization for Homes RI.