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Rhode Island’s Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor recently met with the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns (The League) to discuss ways to remove barriers to housing and increase housing production in local communities across the state. Representatives from over 25 communities across the state attended the meeting to share their current housing initiatives, which included a multi-generational and healthy aging focused approach to housing solutions and creative solutions for new housing infrastructure.

The League’s Executive Director, Ernie Almonte, emphasized that in order to improve and diversify housing options in Rhode Island, focus must also be given to infrastructure, transportation, and local and school aid. Countless communities have already approved or completed new affordable housing developments in their areas over the past year, including East Providence, East Greenwich, Providence, Lincoln, and Pawtucket, while additional communities have identified the need for emergency shelter, senior housing, and workforce housing.

The League’s Housing Priorities include encouraging housing construction and rehabilitation, removing barriers to housing, and preserving and promoting quality of life based on the different communities’ needs. Additionally, the League is calling for increased funding for infrastructure outside of federal aid opportunities, funding the implementation of programs and systems to support process improvements, increased technical support and adequate funding to departments and agencies that facilitate housing growth, and workforce development to expand the pool of municipal planners and building and zoning officials.

The meeting provided the state with an on-the-ground perspective and innovative solutions, while municipalities gained valuable insight into the state’s plans over the next several months. As the state looks to increase its housing stock, it must acknowledge and address the realities faced by some communities that lack community-wide sewer and water systems and public transportation, or are already largely developed. The League and its members are pleased to be working with Secretary Pryor and his team to provide essential insight as state leaders consider next steps to address the housing crisis.