housing

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In New England, the "triple decker" is a three-story apartment building, usually of wood-frame construction, with each floor consisting of one apartment. 

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A shortage of houses on the Rhode Island market paired with high demand drove single-family home prices to a median of $275,000 in June,   according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

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The Providence Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meets Thursday. The group is expected to consider changes to policy that bars housing applicants with criminal convictions. Advocates say current policy is unfair.

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Affordable housing programs could see their federal support drastically reduced, if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget passes. That would mean millions of dollars in aid lost for the Ocean State.

Just a few weeks remain until 2017, a year bound to be filled with political drama. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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More than 9,000 people have signed up for subsidized housing vouchers through a waitlist that opened just a few days ago. The Providence Housing Authority waitlist last opened in 1998.

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.

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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? 

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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.

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  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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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