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3/24/2016 Rep. Maldonado wants commission to study compliance with Low and Moderate Income Housing Act
STATE HOUSE — Concerned about the lack of compliance in some communities with the state’s Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced a proposal to establish a commission to study the act and its compliance by cities and towns.

“Since Rhode Island adopted a law that 10 percent of housing must be affordable in each community, only five of the state’s 39 cities and towns have complied with this mandate,” said Representative Maldonado. “The reality is that there are very few opportunities for affordable home ownership, especially in our distressed communities.”

The resolution (2016-H 7989) would create a 13-member special legislative study commission for the purpose of making a comprehensive study on implementation of the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act. The commission would report back to the House of Representatives no later than Feb. 11, 2017.

The Low and Moderate Income Housing Act became law when the General Assembly determined that there was an acute shortage of affordable, accessible, safe, and sanitary housing for citizens of low and moderate income. Since passage of the law in 1991, only Central Falls, Newport, Providence, Woonsocket and New Shoreham have met the 10 percent threshold, while 14 cities and towns still have less than 5 percent affordable housing.

“There is a major need for affordable housing for young professionals to help stabilize the economy of cities such as Central Falls and help them grow,” said Representative Maldonado. “Instead we see triple-deckers and absentee landlords.”

The lack of decent affordable housing is particularly felt by the Latino community. While 45 percent of Latino households own their own homes throughout America, according to the Housing Works Report, that number is a comparatively low 26 percent in Rhode Island. The state also has the lowest non-white homeownership rate in the U.S.

“Rhode Island’s population has become more and more diverse in recent years,” said Representative Maldonado, “and so has its housing needs. Adequate and affordable housing is a necessary ingredient in every community because it helps promote stability that improves workforce education and economic development.”

The commission would comprise three legislators along with builders, housing experts, advocates for the homeless and representatives of municipal interests. It would be responsible for reviewing municipal housing plans and offering solutions to help cities and towns successfully comply with the law.

The resolution, which is cosponsored by Representatives Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket), Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket) and John M. Carnevale (D-Dist. 13, Providence, Johnston), has been referred to the House Municipal Government Committee.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903