The Providence Housing Authority is opening the wait list for Section 8 housing for the first timesince 1998. The list typically holds thousands of people.

The Section 8 voucher program allows residents to find their own rental housing and get a portion of the cost paid by the Providence Housing Authority.


CHUCK: Rhode Islanders head to the polls in a few short weeks to vote in the presidential election and decide several local races and ballot questions. One of those questions is whether to invest  $50 million dollars into affordable housing. The bond is question seven on the November ballot, and Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender joins us now with more details. Good morning John.

JOHN: Hey Chuck.

CHUCK: So John, voters approved similar bonds for affordable housing in 2009 and 2012, worth a combined roughly $73 million. What happened to that money? 


The head of the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, makes a stop in the Ocean State today. Castro is working to raise awareness of efforts to prevent lead poisoning.

Castro will join Senator Jack Reed on a tour of several homes in Providence, where federal funds have been used to clean up lead paint. The pair will also meet with housing officials and environmental advocates to discuss efforts to reduce lead exposure, especially among children.


  Rhode Island has received $36 million in federal funding to help residents avoid foreclosure on their homes. The grant comes from the Hardest Hit Fund, a national program for areas most affected by the 2008 housing crash.

Barbara Fields, the director of Rhode Island Housing, says that includes cities like Providence and Central Falls and many suburban communities.

“Whether one lives in Coventry, Cumberland or Tiverton, there’s assistance,” said Fields. “And we will work with them to see what we may be able to provide them.”


Rhode Island ranks among the bottom for affordable rents nationwide. That’s according to a new report out from the National Low Income Housing Coalition – a D.C. based housing advocacy group.

Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless director Jim Ryczek said it takes nearly double the state’s minimum wage to comfortably afford the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

John Bender / RIPR

A program designed to combat foreclosed, blighted properties in Providence is drawing the ire of some local residents. 

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has set himself an ambitious goal: to rid the city of all housing blight in the next six years. If the city reaches that goal, Elorza said it would be the first city of its size to do so.

On Tuesday, the mayor unveiled his initiative to deal with hundreds of vacant and abandoned homes in the state capital. The project, called EveryHome Providence, offers what the administration calls a suite of tools for taking on these properties.

RIPR file photo

In an effort to retain a young, educated workforce, the state has announced a program to help recent graduates buy homes in the state. The “Ocean State Grad Grant,” as its being called, is being offered to people buying a home in-state within three years of graduating from college or graduate school.

Grants, of up to seven thousand dollars will be awarded to help with a mortgage down payment. The program is being run by the quasi-government agency, Rhode Island Housing, which has set aside 350-thousand dollars for the program.


Home sales in Rhode Island held steady last month.  July was the eight month of increased year over year sales.


Rhode Island falls short providing adequate affordable housing to its lower-income residents.  The report comes from the advocacy non-profit National Low Income Housing Coalition.

According to the study, Rhode Islanders must earn at least $18.49 an hour to afford an average two-bedroom apartment. The minimum wage is currently nine dollars an hour, though efforts are underway to raise that to $10.10.

County Health Rankings 2015 / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its annual County Health Rankings, and Rhode Island's counties (Providence in particular) seem to be faring worse than the national average on a few measures, and much better on a few, too.

John Bender / RIPR

Eight years since the height of the national foreclosure crisis, Providence faces a plague of vacant houses, blighting neighborhoods.  Now the capital city’s new mayor is ramping up efforts to combat the issue. One home on the city's West Side is a success story; it's part of the ambitious plan to create many more in the state capital.

On a cold, sunny morning in March a massive front end loader tears into a tan, two-story home, on Marshall St. on the West Side of Providence. A group of neighbors and passersby watch from across the street.

Homeownership rates for Latinos in Rhode Island are well below the national average.  New data show 25 percent of the of the state’s Latinos own their own home, compared the national average of 45 percent. That’s according to study by the Latino Policy Institute, and Housing Works RI.  From 2007 to 2013, the cost of home ownership far outpaced incomes for Latinos in the state.

What’s more, the number of Latinos grew by more than 50 percent since 2000, making them the fastest growing population in the state.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The two front runners in the race for mayor of Providence swept out to different corners of the city Tuesday in their quest for votes.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says home sales dropped again in August. 

The average price for a single family home was $218,ooo, down 3 percent from last year.  Condominium sales also slowed, but multi-family homes were a bright spot.  Prices have climbed 25 percent from last August.  Realtors Association President Robert Martin says foreclosures, and short sales have dropped significantly from a year ago.  He says that's likely to drive home prices higher in the long term.