Governor Dan McKee today announced the launch of a new program aimed at increasing homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers in the state. The RI Statewide Down Payment Assistance Grant offers $17,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible applicants. The program is being funded with $30 million of the $250 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal recovery funds earmarked to address housing issues in Rhode Island. RIHousing will serve as the administrator of the program.

The program aims to remove significant financial barriers to homeownership that have been amplified by rising housing costs throughout the state. The grant-awarded assistance aims to create more homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who will benefit from increased access to resources for successful and sustainable homeownership.

“Homeownership is one of the most important ways to build generational wealth, yet Rhode Island has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country, largely because families and individuals cannot afford the down payment,” said Governor McKee. “As we seize the moment to make significant investments in housing and in communities across the state, this down payment assistance program is an important boost for families looking to make their home in Rhode Island.”

Built upon the success of programs such as FirstGenHomeRI and 10KDPA, the RI Statewide DPA Grant Program was developed to reduce the gaps in homeownership created by rapid and often volatile changes in Rhode Island’s housing market.

Eligible applicants must be first-time homebuyers purchasing a 1-4 family home or condominium in Rhode Island, meet income and credit score guidelines, and must live in the home as their primary residence. Homebuyers must also complete a RIHousing-approved Homebuyer Education class to prepare them for sustainable homeownership. The down payment assistance is a grant that does not need to be repaid.

“With the high rate of appreciation and limited inventory in today’s market, homeownership is simply out of reach for many Rhode Islanders,” said Peter Pagonis, RIHousing’s Director of Homeownership. “Assistance with down payment and closing costs removes a key financial obstacle for families hoping to start on their path to homeownership.”

RIHousing is administering the program on behalf of the state of Rhode Island. Interested first-time homebuyers can find complete details and how to apply online at or call 401-450-1391.

This program is a significant step in addressing housing inequity in the state of Rhode Island and will help many families achieve the dream of homeownership. It is a significant investment in housing and communities across the state, and it is hoped that it will have a positive impact on the low homeownership rate in Rhode Island.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...