Ward 10

Councilman Pedro Espinal

Ward 10: Lower South Providence & Washington Park

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Committee on Ordinances Approves Affordable Housing Trust

Tonight the Council’s Committee on Ordinance voted to recommend for approval an ordinance which would authorize the appropriation of funds to the Providence Housing Trust. The ordinance will be sent to the full Council for vote and passage.
“This is an important and meaningful milestone for this Council,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “As I assembled my leadership team, I did so with the knowledge that one of the first things we would tackle is creating a dedicated funding source for affordable housing and this is a step in that direction. I thank Majority Leader and Chairwoman Ryan, Mayor Elorza, and Sam Budway from the Providence Redevelopment Agency for helping bring this to fruition so quickly.”
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza stated, “Expanding access to safe and affordable housing has been a top priority for my Administration because it is a key element for creating stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods in Providence. We are in support of this appropriation of funds for a housing trust as it aligns with a comprehensive housing strategy we are developing to support those most vulnerable in our capital city. We remain committed to continuously exploring collaborative and creative approaches that can help us tackle the housing challenges that our residents feel in our communities.”
Majority Leader and Chairwoman of the Committee on Ordinance Jo-Ann Ryan added, “I am grateful to the members of our Committee who helped shepherd this important piece of legislation through. Housing is the cornerstone of our economy, and the housing shortage here in Providence is real. I believe that this Trust is a big step forward in our goal for more affordable housing in our city.”
The ordinance directs the City Tax Collector to transfer and deposit 10% of all funds collected annually by tax stabilization agreements from the current tax year going forward into the Affordable Housing Trust. The Trust will be managed by the Providence Redevelopment Agency, who will develop rules and regulations around the Trust’s implementation.
“This is the first step in creating a mechanism in which to help fund affordable housing in our city,” stated Councilman Luis A. Aponte. “The Trust creates a direct connection between large developments downtown and the ability to develop much-needed affordable housing in other parts of our city. It is an economic tax policy that will not only create new affordable housing units but will also work to preserve units we already have.”
Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris echoed Councilman Aponte’s remarks and added, “I have been working for years to help provide for families in need in our city, and the greatest need among them is a safe place to live. Every person deserves to live in dignity, and finding an affordable property for lower-income families is becoming increasingly difficult, and I believe this fund will help create and preserve the much-needed units to serve all those that need them.”
The Council will take its vote on this ordinance at the first meeting in July, scheduled for Monday, July 8.
All ordinances require two passes by the full Council before it is passed into law.

City Council Passes Pride Resolution

City Council Passes Resolution Welcoming June as Pride Month

At the June 6, 2019 City Council meeting Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) and Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller (Ward 13) introduced a resolution welcoming the month of June as PRIDE month in Providence. The resolution was unanimously passed by the full council.

“Providence is a city that welcomes everyone, regardless of their gender, race, orientation, religion or how they identify,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos. “As a Catholic, I was deeply hurt by the remarks of Bishop Tobin regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, and believe that God welcomes all and stand by Mark 12:31, ‘The second {commandment} is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which many consider being the catalyst that moved the gay liberation movement forward. In the early hours of June 28, 1969 Trans-women and men, gays, lesbians, and their ally’s took to the streets after continued abuse at the hands of the New York City Police in a series of riots that would propel the movement forward to where we are today.

“We can’t forget that Pride’s origin was a broad social movement for equity and inclusion. That’s especially true in today’s political climate while the LGBTQIA community is organizing to stop a national rollback on some hard-won victories,” Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller stated. “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I was angered by Bishop Tobin’s recent comments but I’m proud to create an opportunity for elected officials to be on the side of love and on the side of affirming and supporting our LGBTQIA+ community.”

The first Pride march in Providence took place in 1976 when over 70 brave men and women, marched in Kennedy Plaza, after winning the right to do so after a court battle handled by the ACLU. They were taunted by police and residents alike, yet they were not deterred. Today, known as the “76’ers,” Belle Pelegrino one of the original marchers, told The Providence Journal that, “We totally expected that when we stepped into the plaza, gunfire was going to come. We thought we were going to die.”

As noted by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time, Rolling Stone, CNN, and countless other news outlets the Trump administration has continually rolled back almost every single LGBTQIA+ protection that were put in place by previous administrations. This is why the City Council believes it is more important than ever to memorialize and codify their support for all members of our community.

Pride is celebrated around the world during the month of June, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots that took place on the morning of June 28, 1969. This year marks the 43rd Anniversary of Providence Pride which has grown from a march of 70 men and women to a weekend celebration that brings 1000’s of people to our city in celebration of equality and love.

In 2018, the City Council officially recognized the month of June as Pride Month in perpetuity and was passed by the full Council. The Providence City Council celebrates and recognizes the contributions, struggles, risks, and many identities of Providence’s LGBQIA+ community and their families and proudly affirms that love is love.

The City Council recognizes and thanks Rhode Island Pride for all they do to for the community not just on Pride weekend, but throughout the year. Pride takes place on Saturday, June 15 with Pridefest taking place along South Main Street (North from Memorial Boulevard and South Water Street to the South ending at Wickenden Street) from 12 pm – 7 pm. It will culminate in New England’s only illuminated night Pride Parade that begins at 8 pm and will travel down Dorrance Street, to Washington Street, to Empire Street and ends on Weybosset Street. This year’s theme is #LiveYourTruth.

For more information on Rhode Island Pride, please visit prideri.org.

Council Allocates Funds For Community Organizations

City Council Introduces Ordinance Allocating More than $5M 

In Community Development Block Grant Funding for Providence

Tonight the City Council introduced an ordinance allocating more than $5M in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the city of Providence. Tonight was the first passage of the ordinance by the City Council, and it is expected to be passed for a second and final time at the Thursday, June 6 City Council meeting.

Councilman Luis A. Aponte, Ward 10, stated, “I would like to thank my colleagues for all their hard work. I’m proud that we can continue to make strategic investments in our city. Investments that will ensure organizations that provide critical services to some of our most at risk and vulnerable residents continue to receive the funding they need to continue their work. Investments in helping to support job creation and economic development by targeting economic sectors with high growth potential. And investments in our infrastructure by rehabbing and rebuilding public spaces and parks where residents and visitors can gather and enjoy themselves in neighborhoods throughout our city.”

City Council President Sabina Matos said, “Deciding where to allocate funding for our cities organizations that seek support from these CDBG funds is a daunting task. I commend Chairman Aponte and the Committee for their hard work in making these tough decisions. These federal funds can change the trajectory of an organization and expand the level of work that they can do in our community.”

The CDBG Program is a federal program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. Beginning in 1974, the CDBG Program is one of the longest continuously run programs run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The 2019-2020 CDBG Budget Highlights Includes:

  • $480,000.00 in Community Center Grants
  • $445,509.00 in Public Service Grants
  • $514,230.00 in Economic Development Grants
  • $658,000.00 in Housing Grants
  • $1,251,310.00 in Facility Improvement Grants
  • $750,000.00 in Neighborhood Investment Strategies Grants
  • $1,605,948.00 in HOME Investment Partnerships Program
  • $1,180,379.00 in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program
  • $427,181.00 in Emergency Solutions Grants (Programs helping the homeless)

For a complete list of recipients, please visit the Opens Meeting Portal.

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