For many Rhode Islanders finding affordable housing – ownership or rental – is a struggle, forcing them to make critical choices between health care needs, food on the table, heating costs and mortgage or rent payments. Affordable housing is a critical issue in Rhode Island, and among the bond issues on the March 2 ballot.

What’s Up Newp will explore the $65 million Housing and Community Opportunity Bond on Monday morning at 11 with Brenda Clement, director of HousingWorks RI.

According to the Secretary of State’s Voter Information Handbook, the Housing Bond funds will be used to build several affordable housing units and rehabilitate older buildings into affordable housing units.

HousingWorks RI has been the state’s leading affordable housing advocate, developing considerable housing information, including an annual review of housing type, cost, and affordability for every community in the state.

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One of its findings has been that Rhode Island invests less money per capita in affordable housing than any other New England state.

Before coming to HousingWorks RI, Clement was Executive Director of Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) from 2012-2016. Clement, who has 20 years experience in housing and community development, has served as Executive Director of the Housing Action Coalition of Rhode Island, a statewide affordable housing advocacy organization, and as Executive Director of the Housing Network, the Rhode Island trade association for community development corporations.

She is also a founding member of the New England Housing Network and served on the Board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition for nine years and just recently completed her term as Chair.

Besides the Housing Bond, voters will also consider:

  • Higher Education Facilities – $107.3 million.
  • Beach, Clean Water, and Green Bond – $74 million.
  • Transportation and infrastructure, with a state match – $71.7 million.
  • Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund – $15 million.
  • Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant Program and State Preservation Grants Program – $7 million
  • Industrial Facilities Infrastructure – $60 million.

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Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.