The City Council unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Council Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris which calls for action on the growing homelessness crisis and adjacent affordable housing crisis in Providence.
“The homelessness crisis in our city needs to be immediately addressed. Providence’s homeless residents deserve a rapid expansion in temporary shelter space in the city, so that there are places where people can go to have safe and dignified living conditions until they are able to find permanent affordable housing. We have the resources to provide safe and reliable temporary housing, and there is no excuse for delay,” stated Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11).
The Council resolution calls on the Mayor to work with state and local partners to find the necessary funding to quickly expand the amount of temporary shelter space and affordable housing opportunities that are available to individuals suffering from homelessness in the city.
“Homelessness results from a combination of factors, but the lack of affordable housing options, made even more challenging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—has deepened the problem. I have been working to address affordable housing and homelessness on the Council and in my community for years. We must continue our efforts to expand opportunities for affordable housing in Providence as a long-term solution to homelessness,” added Councilwoman Harris.
Earlier this year, the Council capitalized the Affordable Housing Trust Fund with over $20 million to help finance, construct, and maintain affordable housing units throughout the city. Tonight’s resolution reaffirms the Council’s commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis in the city which the resolution cites exacerbating the prevalence of homelessness in our communities.
Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) who led the effort to grow the Housing Trust Fund through the bond issue, said that, “The City needs a plan to address the immediate homelessness crisis, while investing thoughtfully in long-term affordable housing solutions. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund has been a priority of mine, and I look forward to using it to provide housing security for Providence residents.”