The City of Providence has created this guide to serve as a centralized resource for housing-related information and resources related to COVID-19. The guide will be updated with new resources as they become available. To suggest an addition, email Hkahn@providenceri.gov with the subject line, “Housing Resource Guide.” Last updated 3/22/2021.
Resources for Residential Renters
NATIONAL INFORMATION ON CDC EVICTION MORATORIUM
On September 4, the CDC issued an eviction moratorium that protects many renters from being evicted for non-payment of rent. This moratorium has been extended and will now be in effect through at least June 30, 2021. In order to halt an eviction during this time, you MUST fill out and sign a declaration form and give a copy to your landlord. The declaration form and more information can be downloaded at the links below:
- Though the CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 25, 2020, you may still be entitled to protection if your landlord is getting mortgage relief. For more information visit:
- RI Legal Services has set up a hotline to provide information about the CDC Eviction Moratorium. The number to call is 401-633-9124.
- If you rent your home from a Public Housing Agency, or receive a Housing Choice Voucher, check out this Tenant Brochure from HUD with information on preventing eviction after July 25th.
Homes RI has release an updated Eviction FAQ available in English and Spanish here/aqui.
RHODE ISLAND EVICTION INFORMATION
- “SELF-HELP” Evictions (evictions that do not go through the court system) are ALWAYS illegal.
- If a sheriff or constable attempts to evict you without a court order, you can report it here.
- If your landlord attempts to evict you without a court order and without a sheriff or constable, through actions such as locking you out, throwing away or moving your possessions into storage, or turning off your utilities, we encourage you to contact the police to file a police report.
- Filing a police report will allow you to refer the issue to the Attorney General’s office, so that landlords breaking the law may be prosecuted (this allows for the possibility of prosecution; it does not guarantee it).
- There are currently no additional restrictions on evictions in Rhode Island, other than those covered by the CDC moratorium
EMERGENCY HOUSING ASSISTANCE
Applications are now open at: rentreliefri.com
Rhode Island has received $200 million in rent relief funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program. This program will provide rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters maintain housing stability.
Safe Harbor and Housing Help RI are no longer accepting applications for rental assistance.
EVICTION DEFENSE INFORMATION SESSION
On July 14th, Providence hosted an eviction defense information session with representatives from Crossroads RI, RI Center for Justice, RI Legal Services, and the Housing Network of RI.
- You can find the slideshow from the event here.
- The video recording of the entire session is here.
- “On October 6, the City, along with Tenants Network of RI, Center for Justice, and The African American Ambassadors Subgroup on Housing hosted a Know Your Rights Workshop for tenants.
- You can find the full recording of the event here
- The slideshows from the event are available at these links – Know Your Housing Rights – Tenant Network Presentation (10/6/2020)
On March 19, 2021, the PUC extended the winter moratorium on service disconnections for “protected status” customers of National Grid through June 25, 2021.
Customers protected from shutoff during the winter moratorium include: (1) those currently unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation; (2) recipients of LIHEAP; (3) households that meet the definition of elderly or handicapped; (4) households that include seriously ill customers as evidenced by a doctor’s note; and (5) households with children under 2 years old. In addition, no household may have service terminated if their heating delinquent balance is $500 or less or their non-heating delinquent balance is $200 or less. Customers facing economic challenges with their utility bills should contact the utility to determine if they are receiving the best rate they qualify for, whether they qualify for protections, and to set up payment plans.
Click here to view an informational flier from the George Wiley Center about National Grid’s discount rates.
- You can enroll in a low-income rate program and learn more about payment options and shut off protections here.
- The moratorium for all other National Grid residential customers has been extended to September 30, 2020.
- The moratorium for all other regulated utilities (water, telephone, cable) expired on July 17, 2020.
- You can find more information on the public utilities termination moratorium here.
The PUC has also directed utility companies to suspend late fees, credit card charges, and interest until further notice. You can find more information about this and other utility questions at the resources below:
- Cox is currently scheduled to resume terminating service on July 31, 2020. Payment plans are available to avoid service interruption. To enroll in a payment plan, contact Cox directly. Contact information is available here
- Verizon has extended its low-income internet offer through the end of 2020. You can find out more information here and find the application and eligibility information here
Homes RI has put together an English and Spanish FAQ on Utilities Assistance available here/ disponible aquí.
Tenants have rights protected by law. Learn what they are, how to advocate for yourself, and who can help from the resources below:
- This RI Landlord Tenant Handbook lays out all of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, all of your landlord’s rights and responsibilities to you, and a wealth of other information.
- Tenant Network RI: Tenant Network is a small group of RI renters focused on building tenants’ unions where we live. We can sometimes answer housing and tenants rights questions, but we’re not lawyers or caseworkers. If you need help with navigating state programs, community services or legal help please call DARE (information below). If you’re interested in grassroots organizing or forming a tenants’ union with your neighbors, please contact us at email@example.com or text TENANT to (401) 307-1692. You can also find us on Facebook, where we share news, events, and updates.
MUTUAL AID/COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE
Mutual Aid Funds are generally community organized hubs that allow people to pool resources and can provide various forms of assistance to community members in need. See below for links to a variety of such funds located in Rhode Island:
- AMOR Community Resources Document (English)/AMOR Documento De Recursos Comunitarios (Espanol)
- Project LETS: Providence Community Mutual Aid Intake
- COVID-19 PVD Area Mutual Aid and Community Assistance Facebook page
- RIPIN COVID-19 Resources
- Queer and Trans Mutual Aid PVD
- SistaFire (for women of color)
You have a right to safe and healthy housing. This is especially important during the Covid-19 Pandemic, while we are spending much more time at home. Learn more about what that means and how to file a complaint at the links below:
- RI Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code
- Childhood Lead Action Project – can answer questions/give advice about lead paint, lead in water, etc. Or email Devra at firstname.lastname@example.org
- To report a code violation, call your local Housing Code Enforcement Office:
- Providence – (401)680-5201 – https://www.providenceri.gov/inspection/code-enforcement/
Resources for People Experiencing Homelessness
- RI Homeless Management Coordinated Entry System: this is the central resource to connect with shelter or diversion assistance– money to help stop you from becoming homeless, or to return to housing. Their phone number is (401) 277-4316 and their email is email@example.com
- The House of Hope outreach program works with people experiencing homelessness. You can reach Megan at (401) 484-0234 (call or text) or firstname.lastname@example.org
- RI Coalition for the Homeless has created this COVID-19 Resource page for people experiencing homelessness.
Resources for Single-Family Homeowners
INFORMATION ON CARES ACT MORTGAGE RELIEF AND FORECLOSURE MORATORIUM
The CARES Act prohibits foreclosure on single-family homes with federally backed loans until June 30, 2021, at the earliest. It also requires mortgage servicers to provide up to 18 months of mortgage payment forbearance to borrowers who request it, if their loan is federally backed. You can find more information and resources about the mortgage relief and foreclosure moratorium below:
- Read their Homeowner FAQ
- Read about their adjusted operations and how to access their services during the pandemic.
- Información disponible en español aquí.
See Utilities Information under the Residential Renters section.
PRIVATE MORTGAGE RELIEF
More than 26 financial institutions in Rhode Island have pledged relief for all borrowers including:
- A 90-day grace period for mortgage payments with the opportunity to ask for additional relief if needed
- Lenders will not report late payments to credit agencies for those that take advantage of the 90 day grace period
- There will be a 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures/evictions
- A temporary suspension of all mortgage-related fees
Resources for Commercial Renters
LOANS AVAILABLE FROM THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Commercial rent and mortgage payments are both allowable uses of many of the funds available through the Small Business Administration’s programs for economic recovery in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Businesses should make sure to check out Providence’s Resources for employers, employees, and businesses page for information on how to apply.
RESOURCES FOR COMMERCIAL RENTERS SEEKING RENT OR MORTGAGE RELIEF
- CCIM Institute’s Guidance for Commercial Real Estate Tenant/ Landlord Issues
- Commercial Real Estate Finance Council’s CMBS Borrowers Guide
Resources for Landlords
INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS ON SAFE OPERATIONS PRACTICES DURING THE PANDEMIC
Keeping your buildings safe and sanitary is more important than ever. You can find more information on how to do so in the resources listed below:
INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS ON EVICTION MORATORIUMS AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO TENANTS
- This RI Landlord Tenant Handbook lays out all of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, the rights and responsibilities of your tenants, and a wealth of other information.
- Office of Multifamily Housing Programs Questions and Answers
- On September 4, the CDC issued an eviction moratorium that protects many renters from being evicted for non-payment of rent through December 31st.
- For more information, see the “Resources for Residential Renters” section above.
- You can also view preliminary guidance on the moratorium from the National Apartment Association here
- If you are a landlord connected to RI Housing, see here.
INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS ON AVAILABLE RELIEF
If you are a landlord worried about making your own mortgage payments, there are relief options available to you. You can find information and resources on your relief options at the link below:
- If your building has 4 units or less, you may be eligible for mortgage forbearance under the CARES Act. See Resources for Single-Family Homeowners
- If your building is a multi-family unit, you may also be eligible for mortgage forbearance, with the condition that you suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus. You can find more information from the Federal Housing Finance Agency here.
- Landlords and rental property owners may qualify for relief available to all other businesses:
- See here for resources for employers, employees, and businesses.
- Article on SBA Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Landlords
Are you sick with COVID-19 & share a room or bathroom with others? In an effort to slow the spread of the virus among households without extra room to self-isolate, the State and partners are providing free hotel accommodations to those that qualify. For more information, call 2-1-1 and select option #6.