Coordinated effort and funding needed to address affordable housing and homelessness crisis.
At last evening’s Providence City Council meeting, Councilwoman and Housing Crisis Task Force Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by all other Council members, endorsing the “Plan to Address Unsheltered Homelessness Crisis,” developed by a coalition of respected organizations working to end homelessness in Rhode Island. The resolution and plan call for immediate action to invest available funds to create 150 additional beds statewide to keep people safe, warm, and dry as winter approaches, while also developing solutions to provide long-term housing access for all.
“There is nothing more basic than providing a safe, warm, and dry place for those experiencing housing insecurity, especially as we are entering the cold winter months,” said Councilwoman Ryan, who thanked housing advocates for the comprehensive plan. “That is why this City Council in July approved $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address immediate needs related to homelessness intervention. While this investment is making a difference, more resources are needed to create an estimated 150 additional beds across Rhode Island. That is why I have introduced this resolution endorsing the ‘Plan to Address Unsheltered Homelessness Crisis,’ and why the Council is urging coordinated action between the City, Governor’s Office, and the General Assembly to utilize ARPA dollars to address the immediate crisis facing our unsheltered population, while also developing long term solutions to increase access to affordable housing. Going forward we commit to working collaboratively with our housing providers to get the money on the streets. Working together, we can address this crisis and build a strong foundation to end homelessness and increase access to affordable housing of all kinds in Rhode Island. The Council will also continue to do our part through the Housing Crisis Task Force, where I am pleased to work closely with Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10) and Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11). I’m proud to have sponsored and the Council passed the $26 million historic housing bond to capitalize the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help finance, construct, and maintain affordable homes in our city. This is an important tool to address our housing shortage.”
“As Council President, one of my top priorities has been addressing the affordable housing crisis impacting our city,” said Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7). “This Council has already approved over $26 million to capitalize an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help finance, construct, and maintain affordable housing units throughout the city, and $500,000 to help those experiencing homelessness. Yet more needs to be done and that is why I support Councilwoman Ryan’s resolution endorsing the ‘Plan to Address Unsheltered Homelessness Crisis.’ This Council stands ready to work with our partners in the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly to invest ARPA and other funds to create safe, warm, and dry shelter beds for the homeless and longer-term solutions that will increase the supply of affordable housing in Providence and across Rhode Island.”