Rep. Maldonado to chair commission to study Low and Moderate Income Housing Act; panel meets Wednesday

STATE HOUSE – (RealEstateRama) — Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has been appointed to chair a special legislative commission to study the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act and its compliance by cities and towns.

The commission will have its first meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

The commission was created by a resolution (2016-H 7989A) enacted by the House of Representatives in May. The commission will report back to the House of Representatives no later than Feb. 11, 2017.

“Since Rhode Island adopted a law that 10 percent of housing must be affordable in each community, only five of the state’s 39 cities and towns have complied with this mandate,” said Representative Maldonado. “The reality is that there are very few opportunities for affordable home ownership, especially in our distressed communities.”

In addition to Representative Maldonado, Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) and Rep. Justin K. Price (R-Dist. 39, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter) will also serve on the commission, along with Bristol Town Administrator Antonio A. Teixeira, Carol Ventura from Rhode Island Housing, David Caldwell from Rhode Island Builders, Foster Town Planner Juliana Berry King, Kristen Dart, the director of Intergovernmental Affairs in Providence, LeeAnn Byrne from the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, Linda Weisinger, the executive director of Pawtucket/Central Falls Development, Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Melina Lodge, the president of Housing Network RI, David Salvatore from the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, and Scott Wolf, the executive director of Grow Smart RI.

The Low and Moderate Income Housing Act became law when the General Assembly determined that there was an acute shortage of affordable, accessible, safe, and sanitary housing for citizens of low and moderate income. Since passage of the law in 1991, only Central Falls, Newport, Providence, Woonsocket and New Shoreham have met the 10 percent threshold, while 14 cities and towns still have less than 5 percent affordable housing.

There is a major need for affordable housing for young professionals to help stabilize the economy of cities such as Central Falls and help them grow,” said Representative Maldonado. “Instead we see triple-deckers and absentee landlords.”

The lack of decent affordable housing is particularly felt by the Latino community. While 45 percent of Latino households own their own homes throughout America, according to the Housing Works Report, that number is a comparatively low 26 percent in Rhode Island. The state also has the lowest non-white homeownership rate in the U.S.

“Rhode Island’s population has become more and more diverse in recent years,” said Representative Maldonado, “and so has its housing needs. Adequate and affordable housing is a necessary ingredient in every community because it helps promote stability that improves workforce education and economic development.”

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401)222-1922

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