PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Governor Dan McKee and RIHousing announced the award of $4.7 million in new funding to support the creation of affordable housing in six communities across the state. Funded via the state's allocation of federal Fiscal Recovery Funds, the Site Acquisition Program (SAP) provides grants to municipalities and for-profit or non-profit developers for the acquisition of properties that will be developed as affordable and supportive housing. Governor McKee joined RIHousing and state leaders in February 2022 to announce the availability of $12 million in funding from the Governor's "Rhode Island Rebounds" package to support the statewide effort.
"When we launched the program, we knew there was a need for this type of funding – funding that helps lay the groundwork for future development and ensures that housing developers can quickly purchase property and develop more affordable homes," said Governor McKee. "The state's Site Acquisition Program is one of many tools to ensure Rhode Islanders have access to safe and affordable homes, in communities across the state. I've made housing a top legislative priority and am committed to my 'Rhode Island Rebounds' plan for spending federal State Fiscal Recovery Funds (SFRF) funds allocated to Rhode Island as it is the boost our state needs."
"Addressing Rhode Island's affordable housing crisis will require the participation and support of numerous stakeholders working collaboratively and creatively," said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. "The SAP will help out us on a fast track to build more affordable housing units across our state." ? Last fall, Governor McKee filed and received approval for a supplemental budget amendment with the General Assembly on his Rhode Island Rebounds plan to invest approximately 10 percent of the State's $1.13 billion American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds in Rhode Island's families, workers, small businesses and housing. Under his proposal for housing, McKee's plan included $12 million allocated for a property acquisition grant program.
The program's intent is to ensure that non-profit and for-profit developers, municipalities and public housing authorities can secure land, therefore kickstarting a pipeline of projects that will increase the supply of supportive housing and affordable rental and homeownership opportunities across the state. It is anticipated that SAP funds will be matched with other public and private funds to bring projects to completion.
"Creating new, high-quality affordable housing in vacant and/or underutilized lots is pivotal to strengthening the fabric of our neighborhoods and creating stronger communities," said Deputy Secretary for Housing Josh Saal. "The SAP program ensures we do both by securing these lots for the development of affordable housing."
To date, 10 projects have been approved for $4.7 million in SAP funding. Located in Central Falls, Cumberland, Glocester, Middletown, Pawtucket and Providence, these developments will produce 186 affordable housing units. Two of the developments – in Middletown and Pawtucket – will create homeownership units, while the other eight projects will be rental. With today's announcement of funding awards, over $7.2 million in SAP funding remains for additional development efforts.
The income of households occupying housing assisted with SAP funding is limited to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $70,900 for a three-person household in most parts of the state. Eligible properties include vacant lots as well as residential and commercial sites across Rhode Island. In order to ensure funds are utilized to meet the pressing housing demand, applicants must demonstrate that they are ready to commence redevelopment of properties.
"2021 was an important year for Rhode Island as our federal and state leaders made the commitments needed to help us produce the housing options Rhode Islanders need," said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. "2022 is the year we are putting those commitments to work to support development partners and municipalities in their efforts to create more affordable homes, produce good paying jobs in the construction and trades, and build strong communities. We are thankful to Governor McKee and state leadership for providing these important funding resources and their efforts to elevate housing as a top priority to help Rhode Island families succeed."
The Governor has requested an additional $13 million in ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds as part of his proposed FY 2023 budget for the property acquisition grant program which, if approved by the General Assembly, would bring the total funding available for the program to $25 million.
RIHousing is administering the program on behalf of the state. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released in February 2022 and applications for funding will be accepted on a rolling basis as long as funding is available. Interested entities should visit https://www.rihousing.com/rfps-rfqs to learn more about the program and to apply.