Mayor Scott Avedisian has announced his support of Question 7, which would authorize the expenditure of $25 million for affordable housing, on next month’s statewide ballot.
If approved, the bonds would provide funding to the Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission for 600 affordable housing and apartment units, including redevelopment of existing buildings and new construction. Funds are expected to be matched by roughly $225 million from other sources. Projects would begin in July of next year, with targeted completion of June 2015.
“Passage of Question 7 is particularly critical,” Avedisian said, “given that, last year, a HousingWorksRI analysis found that a household earning the state’s median income would be able to afford a median-priced, single-family home in just six of Rhode Island’s 39 communities. Prolonged, high unemployment rates and foreclosures also mean that more residents are struggling to pay for long-term housing or are homeless.”
According to Yes on 7 (yeson7.org), a broad-based coalition in support of the bond, there are numerous benefits to its passage, including: stabilization of blighted neighborhoods due to property foreclosures and abandonments; support of Opening Doors – Rhode Island’s state Plan to End Homelessness; and support of small businesses, job creation and a boost to the overall economy.
Warwick benefited from $457,921 of bond funding from a 2006 bond, which helped to create 10 affordable homes/units, including one home ownership and nine rentals.
The 2006 bond, Yes on 7 notes, supported more than 6,100 jobs in the state, including 3,000 in construction, and generated $300 million in wages and nearly $800 million in total economic activity. Ninety-eight percent of contractors hired from those projects were based in Rhode Island.
Some Warwick organizations endorsing Question 7 include the House of Hope CDC, the Rhode Island Family Shelter and the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center.