Ten of thousands on waitlist for housing vouchers in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Efforts to create affordable housing in Rhode Island could get a big boost with $250 million potentially being approved in the upcoming budget. 

The help can’t come fast enough for thousands of people waiting to get housing vouchers in the state; not to mention those trying to get into public housing or just find an affordable rent.  

Jaleah Robinson, a Providence woman who’s been searching for a rental for her and her four kids for about six years, said it’s been difficult to find a new home and move out of her mother’s apartment. 

Robinson, who works full-time, has been waitlisted for housing vouchers, public housing, and finds it nearly impossible to find an affordable rent, even without government assistance. 

“It’s not affordable,” Robinson said. 

She told ABC 6 News she’s looking for a three-bedroom apartment for her and her kids.  

Rhode Island Housing’s latest rent survey from 2021 showed that the monthly cost for a three-bedroom rental in Rhode Island will run you more than $2,000. 

If you’re looking for government assistance, there are long wait times. For example, according to Rhode Island Housing, the average wait time for housing vouchers is 24 months. There are about 24,000 people on the waitlist statewide.  

Alicia Johnson, the head of Housing and Partnerships at South County Habitat for Humanity, said supply issues and a lack of accessibility were fueling the housing crisis even before COVID-19. 

“I work with folks every single day who are choosing between feeding their families or having a safe affordable roof over their heads,” Johnson. 

Rhode Island state lawmakers are now considering $250 million in the 2023 budget to help facilitate more building of affordable housing and help those with housing insecurity.  

Johnson told ABC 6 she’d like to see double that number — $500 million — to help combat affordable housing issues in Rhode Island.  

The vote on Gov. Dan McKee’s budget proposal is expected in the next several weeks. 

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island