‘What am I doing wrong?’: Rhode Island families crippled by housing crisis

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — On the same day former state Housing Secretary Josh Saal resigned, Rhode Islanders shared their trials and tragedies surrounding the growing housing crisis.

Rising rent and homeless encampments are just two of the recent trends the state has been tracking.

Shirley, a Providence native, said she has been looking for housing since her apartment burnt down six months ago.

“Right now, it’s not working,” she started. “You know, there are so many people who call it ‘Rogue Island,’ and I would correct them. But now I’m like, ‘No, they might be onto something here.'”

Shirley and her family of three have been taken in by friends. She says soaring rental rates have extended their stay.

She explained, “We didn’t have to go through what I see other people going through. But that could have been me that could have been anybody. First of all, when we say affordable housing, it shouldn’t be available to just low-income people. There are other people who struggle just to pay their rent.”

Barbara and Jack Ringland of Barrington’s rent nearly doubled this summer in the span of weeks.

ABC 6 News spoke again with the family Wednesday, who said they can no longer afford the rent. They are forced to move out this summer.

Requiring affordable, handicap-accessible housing in less than five months, Barbara explained fears the couple may be forced to split.

“Otherwise, I’ll either be living in New Hampshire and Jack will be down in the Veteran’s Association home,” she said. “That’s awful… or we’ll be in a tent someplace. I don’t know what else to say. I try not to think about it because when I do I cry a lot.”

The Ringland’s say they have yet to find an option that fits their price range and needs.

Barbara finished, “What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening, and why is it so hard to find a solution?”


Both Shirley and the Ringland’s called upon the state for more middle-class housing options, and more regulations on rental spikes across Rhode Island.

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