PROVIDENCE, RI – The McKee Administration today announced it has awarded $1.4 million to fund an additional 77 new emergency shelter beds. This round of funding is in addition to $4.1 million distributed over the last six months that helped fund 274 beds, bringing the total number of new shelter beds funded in 2022 to 351. With these additions, the Department of Housing expects the statewide shelter capacity to include more than 1,000 operational beds.
In addition, under the direction of Governor Dan McKee, Rhode Island's new Department of Housing is also working to finalize additional initiatives that will add approximately 43 additional beds beyond the 77 announced today.
"Rhode Islanders deserve a safe place to sleep at night and expanding our shelter capacity will help ensure we have the resources to support families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness," said Governor Dan McKee. "We thank the many shelters, nonprofit organizations and housing advocates across the state for their partnership with our state agencies as we work to ensure increased shelter capacity and longer-term housing solutions."
"While the long-term solution to homelessness is to build more permanent supportive housing units across the state, increasing shelter bed capacity is an immediate necessity for Rhode Island's current situation," said Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. "Our goal is to work with our provider partners to swiftly get these newly funded beds online, while we continue our efforts of meeting individuals and households where they are and investing in programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness, and when not possible, make it rare, brief and non-recurring."
"Community Care Alliance is pleased to partner with the State of RI on this project to provide a comprehensive approach to address the needs of the unhoused," said Ben Lessing, President and CEO of the Community Care Alliance. "Owing to the reality that many of the people impacted have serious mental illness and addiction, an array of behavioral health services will be provided in addition to assisting individuals and families in accessing permanent housing as well as employment. This collaborative model which includes the Office for Housing, BHDDH and Community Care Alliance, represents an effective approach for addressing the needs of the unhoused population."
Earlier this month, the Governor made $166 million in funding available to support affordable housing efforts across the state. The $166 million includes $115 million in funding from the $250 million Governor McKee and the General Assembly have earmarked for housing efforts from the state's federal ARPA funds. The $250 million in ARPA funding is a historic investment to create and preserve critically needed affordable housing options that will also help to transform blighted properties, strengthen communities and create good-paying jobs in the construction and allied trades.
As part of the Administration's comprehensive plan to address homelessness and increase support, in October, Governor McKee directed $9.5 million in federal funds to expand legal services to support low-income households facing housing insecurity across the state. These funds can be used to connect individuals with services like eviction prevention and eviction diversion; mediation between landlords and tenants; case management related to housing stability; housing counseling and fair housing counseling.
Further, in September, Governor McKee announced $5 million to continue addressing homelessness and expand shelter capacity with a focus on expanding trauma-informed shelter in non-congregate settings that serves couples, families, and individuals. In May, Governor Dan McKee announced six awards totaling close to $1.5 million to the dedicated service providers addressing the homelessness crisis in Rhode Island. These grants are part of the Governor's Rhode Island Rebounds initiative and funded through ARPA dollars and the state's Consolidated Homeless Fund.
In addition, the state is continuing to run the Landlord Challenge Initiative – an incentive program that seeks to alleviate the state's current homeless crisis by providing financial incentives to landlords willing to lease a habitable dwelling to an individual or family that has been challenged in finding a safe, clean, and affordable place to call home. All participating units must be available, safe, and habitable. 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. Interested landlords can find more information at www.LandlordIncentiveRI.com.