10-year Blueprint to Guide City’s Vision for Expanded Access to Safe, Affordable and Equitable Housing
August 26, 2020
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined staff from the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development and RKG Associates for a virtual public meeting to unveil preliminary recommendations for the City’s Anti-Displacement and Comprehensive Housing Strategy (the Strategy). As COVID-19 amplifies the critical housing needs facing Providence residents, the Strategy builds an actionable 10-year housing road map for policy recommendations and equitable housing investments.
“Now more the ever, housing is foundational to the quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Together with our community, we are laying the groundwork for a comprehensive system of investments that ensure that City resources are used to promote housing quality, development, and affordability for all residents.”
In the last decade, Providence has experienced increased development throughout the city. While economic growth can spur community benefits, a balance between progress and equity is required. To drive that balance, last fall the City of Providence engaged RKG Associates to embark on an in-depth analysis of Providence’s housing market with an equity lens. Over the course of 9-months, city staff alongside RKG Associates, began a robust public engagement process. A series of discussion groups, stakeholder interviews, and community working sessions helped to provide essential insights for the development of the preliminary recommendations.
“The City of Providence is committed to preserving and promoting safe, affordable housing for Providence residents,” said Kyle Talente Vice President and Principal for RKG Associates. “The Comprehensive Housing Strategy process was designed to bring together the City’s existing efforts with those of its implementation partners, identify the potential for better collaboration and/or consolidation, and determine any opportunities to enhance these efforts. The RKG Associates Team has sought input from key stakeholders, implementation partners, and residents to identify needs, challenges, and opportunities. We look forward to garnering additional community feedback to further refine these actions to ensure support and implementation.”
Key goals outlined in the preliminary recommendations include:
- Providing rental and ownership housing choice opportunities for Providence residents of all incomes throughout the City
- Ensuring new residential development complements Providence’s diverse neighborhoods
- Encouraging price diversity in all new housing development
- Expanding homeownership opportunities for Providence residents
- Investing in Providence’s historic housing stock to promote healthy living conditions
These goals reflect Providence’s diverse housing ecosystem and the varying needs of renters, homeowners, landlords, developers and community providers. Key challenges—including an aging housing stock, lack of neighborhood choice, insufficient housing type diversity, and households experiencing significant housing cost burden—are also outlined in the preliminary findings. While about 15% of Providence’s housing stock qualifies as low- and moderate-income housing, 57% of renters in Providence are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of income on housing costs.
As the City prepares to release the Anti-Displacement and Comprehensive Housing Strategy, the public is encouraged to review the preliminary recommendations and provide comments over the next 10 days. The City will integrate community feedback in the final plan which is scheduled to be released later this fall. For more information about the Strategy—including how to submit feedback—visit the City’s website >> http://www.providenceri.gov/planning/comprehensive-housing-strategy/