Housing Works: affordable housing may cost RI skilled workers

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island may be losing skilled laborers because of a shortage of affordable housing. That word today from Housing Works RI, a coalition of banks, builders, chambers of commerce and community groups.

Housing Works Executive Director Nellie Gorbea says homeownership has been made more difficult because of lending restrictions while rents have gone up because of the foreclosure crisis.

"We had such a run up on prices," Gorbea says. "So, when you have a 200 percent increase in the price of a home when incomes have been flat, if they've come down 25 to 30 percent you're still way above where people can afford the homes. And so that's something we show all across the fact book."

More than 800 affordable homes have been built in Rhode Island with a $50 million bond issue Rhode Island voters approved in 2006. Still, only six of the state's 39 communities have achieved the state mandated level of 10 percent affordable housing.