PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee joined by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Juana Matias, Regional Administrator of the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Josh Saal, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Housing, Eileen Hayes, President & CEO, Amos House and housing and community partners today to kick off a statewide landlord challenge effort to provide permanent housing for Rhode Islanders who have been experiencing homelessness and staying in hotel shelters since the onset of the pandemic.
"Over 150 Rhode Island households will soon be transitioning out of hotel shelters and seeking available rental housing," said Governor McKee. "The rental market is tight and the need is urgent. We are calling on landlords across the state to step forward to provide housing to keep Rhode Islanders safely housed."
As federal funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide hotel shelters is winding down, state leaders and housing partners are seeking landlords with available rental units to step forward to house families experiencing homelessness and staying in hotel shelters during the pandemic. These individuals and families will soon be transitioning out of hotel shelters and require housing.
"Homelessness is an issue that requires immediate action. As we propose a historic investment of a quarter of a billion dollars to expand overall housing supply, we must not forget the critical role of landlords and the existing housing stock in addressing the here and now," said Deputy Secretary Josh Saal. "The Landlord Challenge is a call to work together as a community and create mutually beneficial opportunities for both landlords and prospective tenants experiencing homelessness."
The landlord challenge builds upon similar programs launched in 2020 and 2021, which attracted participating landlords across Rhode Island to provide available rental units to Rhode Islanders seeking rental housing. All participating units must be available, safe, habitable and rent reasonable. Program partners are seeking available units in a variety of sizes (studio, one-bedroom, and more) in locations across the state for both individuals and families, including ADA accessible units.
"HUD is proud of our continued partnership with the State of Rhode Island to work toward the goal of making sure that every Rhode Islander experiencing homelessness has a place to call home," said Bob Shumeyko, Regional Director of Community Planning and Development in the HUD Boston Office. "This is a perfect example of how HUD funding can be leveraged with state, nonprofit, and private sector resources to meet a crucial community need and, in this case, will also provide a benefit to landlords."
Landlords will receive a $3,000 signing bonus for the first unit signed on for a one year lease and $1,000 for each additional unit. Up to $3,000 per unit is available for reimbursement of necessary repairs. The program, when possible, will provide rent for up to one year.
"Hotel shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness," said Eileen Hayes, president and CEO of Amos House. "This effort seeks to provide a more permanent solution by engaging landlords and matching their available rental units to individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness. With the financial incentives available, and rent, this program is a win-win for families needing housing, landlords with available units and our state."
Program partners include Governor Dan McKee, Amos House, and the RI Association of Realtors, who are working to jointly raise awareness of the program with landlords. Program funding for incentives comes from the State Office of Housing and Community Development.
For more information on the program or to sign-up for the program, please visit the Amos House website at: https://amoshouse.com/what-we-do/rhode-island-landlord-incentive-program or call 401-272–0220, ext. 254.