Governor McKee Announces Over $166 Million in Funding for Affordable Housing Available

Published on Thursday, November 03, 2022

RIHousing opens competitive funding round for financing to support construction and preservation of affordable homes

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – Governor Dan McKee today was joined by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Housing Secretary Josh Saal and RIHousing to announce the availability of more than $166 million in funding to support affordable housing efforts across the state.

Funding comes from a variety of sources, including both federal and state programs, and supports the construction and preservation of affordable housing as well as operating support. In March, the Governor and state leaders announced the availability of $60 million in funding to support affordable housing efforts across the state. Today’s announcement adds additional funding to support housing efforts, including programs supported via the state’s federal allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“Earlier this year, I proposed, and the General Assembly passed utilizing $250 million in ARPA funds to tackle head on the housing crisis in our state,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Just a few short months after we signed the budget, we are here opening up a competitive funding round to get these dollars out the door and start building on that promise. The McKee-Matos Administration has made housing one of our top priorities and we are thrilled to be able to make these strategic housing investments and help Rhode Islanders as quickly as possible.”

“Let me state clearly: the federal funds being put to work here are from a law that some have said should never have been passed. I fought for these funds because Rhode Island cannot solve our affordable housing problem without money, without change, and, without will. Sadly, some people are content with the status quo and toeing the party line when it comes to affordable housing. That type of thinking is what led to this crisis and that is why dedicating this new federal funding to housing solutions like this are necessary and overdue,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island’s housing crisis was only made worse by the COVID pandemic, which is why we prioritized funding to increase housing availability and help unhoused Rhode Islanders in the American Rescue Plan,” said U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. “These new projects, funded in part by these federal dollars, will help the state to build new affordable housing units as we continue to tackle this crisis and ensure that every Rhode Islander has a safe and warm place to call home.”

The $166 million includes $115 million in funding from the $250 million Governor McKee and the General Assembly have earmarked for housing efforts from the state’s federal ARPA funds. The $250 million in ARPA funding is a historic investment to create and preserve critically-needed affordable housing options that will also help to transform blighted properties, strengthen communities and create good-paying jobs in the construction and allied trades.

Today’s announcement was held at the Langford Estates senior housing development in North Kingstown. Part of a larger development known as “Reynolds Farm,” Langford Estates offers 40 units of senior housing just south of the junction of Post Road and Route 403.The Langford Estates project has received $400,000 through the Site Acquisition program (SAP). Funded via the state’s allocation of federal Fiscal Recovery Funds, the Site Acquisition Program (SAP) provides grants to municipalities and for-profit or non-profit developers for the acquisition of properties that will be developed as affordable and supportive housing.

“With this announcement of $166 million to support affordable housing efforts in Rhode Island, we are making good on our promise to make housing a top priority for our state,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “Rhode Island desperately needs more available housing and these funds will expand the range of affordable housing options that families can afford. These unprecedented investments, coupled with a streamlined funding approach, mean more Rhode Islanders will have access to housing and significant barriers to housing production will be removed.”

“These investments are an investment in our state and our residents – now and in the long term,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio. “We recognize that Rhode Island has a critical shortage of affordable housing options. Today’s announcement is one more example of the type of innovative thinking and collaboration required to produce more homes that Rhode Islanders can afford and ensure a brighter future for all our residents.”

RIHousing in partnership with the state and the Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission (HRC), has adopted a universal funding application that consolidates the request for multiple financing sources. This competitive request for proposals utilizes a “consolidated” Request for Proposals (RFP) approach, which allows interested development partners the opportunity to apply for multiple funding sources through a single application.

“This streamlined process and historic funding will deliver the widespread affordable housing that Rhode Islanders have been waiting to see for years,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “Whether you’re a multi-generational household, like my parents and grandmother, or a young family like my children and me, there will be a home for you in Rhode Island. I am grateful to work alongside all of our partners across nonprofits, business, and government who are working tirelessly to meet the housing needs of our communities.”

The Consolidated RFP includes funding from a dozen state and federally funded housing programs.

“The long-term solution to the state’s housing shortage is, very simply, to build more housing,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Housing Josh Saal. “This significant investment will allow us to advance our mission of fixing, building and stabilizing the statewide housing stock in a way that strengthens communities and creates a more accessible and affordable housing future for all Rhode Islanders. We look forward to reviewing proposals, activating these funds quickly and efficiently, and breaking ground on much-needed developments across the state.”

To date, over $26 million in SFRF funds have been allocated to acquire and develop affordable housing in 17 communities throughout Rhode Island.

“Prior to launching our first-ever consolidated funding RFP, developers would need to apply for each funding source separately, and often at different times of the year,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “With the release of our previous consolidated RFP, we removed significant barriers to the development process, streamlined the application and review process and ensured funding awards were made as efficiently as possible. With this second consolidated funding round, we are building off the success of the initial effort and adding to the available funding with the state’s historic investments in housing. We’re grateful to Governor McKee and state leaders for their commitment in working together to address Rhode Island’s housing crisis.”

While program priorities are similar among the various financing programs, scoring and program requirements may differ. It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves with the various sources and identify the funding sources that best meet the needs of their proposal.

Proposals are due before 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Program descriptions or Term Sheets for each funding source are included on RIHousing’s website.

Funding sources included under the Consolidated RFP:

  • 2023 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC): approximately $3 million in federal LIHTC funding. LIHTC is the primary federal program for the development, rehabilitation and preservation of multi-family affordable rental housing. The LIHTC program is a public-private partnership that uses federal resources to leverage private investment to meet the nation’s housing needs.
  • Tax-exempt bond financing and 4% LIHTC: RIHousing has traditionally accepted applications for bond financing on a rolling basis and will continue to do so. Completion of the consolidated application will be considered an application for tax exempt bonds. Funding is available for rental housing only. 
  • ARPA Production Funds: The source for ARPA Production Funds is State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. A total of $75 million has been allocated to ARPA Production Program for new production or rehabilitation of income eligible rental units for households with incomes at or below 80% of AMI.
  • HOME Program Investment Funds: federal HOME program provides much needed gap financing to develop and rehabilitate homes for households earning up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). HOME funds can be used to develop rental properties. Approximately $4.5 million in HOME Funds are available; awards will be limited to $1 million per project and will be prioritized for 9% LIHTC applications.
  • Housing Trust Fund (HTF): an important federal resource that was authorized by the Housing & Economic Recovery Act and is funded by a portion of profits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is an important source of financing for projects serving extremely low-income and very low-income families. $2.1 million is available.
  • Community Revitalization Program: funded via the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, $20 million has been allocated to the CRP to finance the acquisition and redevelopment of blighted properties in qualified census tracts to increase the development of affordable housing. Projects may include commercial or community spaces that are ancillary to the housing and serve residents of affordable housing. Residential components must serve households at or below 80% AMI.
  • Acquisition Revitalization Program (ARP): funded via the state bond referendum, approximately $9 million in ARP funds is available for residential, commercial, and public facility projects to redevelop blighted properties; 75% of the funding is set aside for urban communities and household incomes for residential or mixed-use properties are limited to 120% AMI.
  • Capital Magnet Fund (CMF): approximately $12 million available to provide owners of existing affordable housing developments with incentives to maintain these developments as quality affordable housing. CMF is also available as a source for newly created affordable housing opportunities, however preservation is a priority. Priority is also given to projects in Areas of Economic Distress and developments serving households below 50% of AMI. Funding is available for rental housing only.
  • Middle Income Loan Program: a total of $20 million to finance innovative proposals that seek to develop housing affordable to households with incomes between 80% – 120% AMI. The program addresses the affordable housing needs of households who are increasingly caught in the gap between rising housing costs and ineligibility for other traditional state and federally financed affordable housing. The source is SLFRF funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
  • Preservation Loan Fund: approximately $3 million in funds is available for the preservation of existing restricted affordable housing that has completed its initial LIHTC compliance period. Funding is available for rental housing only.
  • HOME-ARP Funds: approximately $9 Million of HOME-ARP funding available to support the development of housing for Qualifying Populations (QPs). QPs are defined as (i) individuals or households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as defined under McKinney Vento, (ii) are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking, as defined by HUD (iii) Other Populations where providing supportive services or assistance under section 212(a) of NAHA (42 U.S.C. 12742(a)) would prevent the family’s homelessness or would serve those with the greatest risk of housing instability.
  • Housing Production Fund for Operating Support (HPF-ELI): approximately $9 million for operating support for households either exiting homelessness or earning less than 30% AMI. The subsidy covers the difference between actual rent and the amount necessary to operate the unit. Funding is provided through proceeds from the state’s real estate conveyance tax.