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 with the subject line, “Housing Resource Guide.” Last updated 10/14/2020.
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 through December 31st. 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.
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).
- View a memo from the State Attorney General on Self-Help Evictions during Covid-19.
- There are currently no additional restrictions on evictions in Rhode Island, other than those covered by the CDC moratorium
EMERGENCY HOUSING ASSISTANCE
Housing Help RI has stopped accepting applications while they work through the assistance requests they have already received. If you have already submitted an application through Housing Help RI and have not heard back, you should expect to hear from them in the coming weeks.
If you are a low-income household and have experienced a short term emergency that has made it difficult to pay housing-related expenses, you may be eligible for assistance through the HomeSafe Program. You can find more information and the application at the link above.
If you need help to paying rent or other housing costs, you may qualify for assistance through the state’s Safe Harbor Program. Click the link or call 211 for more information. You DO NOT need to have an eviction order filed against you to qualify for assistance through this program. The application can be found here.
If you applied for assistance through Housing Help RI and have not heard back yet, we advise you to apply for assistance through Safe Harbor as well.
The City of Providence has partnered with RI Legal Services, and RI Center for Justice to greatly expand residents’ access to legal support during eviction proceedings. If you submitted an application for rental assistance through Housing Help RI, you will be screened for eligibility and, if determined eligible referred to RILS or RICfJ for legal assistance
You can also call RILS or CFJ directly. The Center for Justice can be reached at 401-491-1101. Rhode Island Legal Services’s Providence office number is 401-274-2652.
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)
The Public Utilities Commission has extended the moratorium on service terminations for nonpayment for National Grid customers enrolled in the electric or gas low income rate through November 1, 2020, the start of the winter termination moratorium.
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: We’re a group of renters and neighbors organizing to support each other, strengthen our community, and protect tenants’ rights during coronavirus and beyond. If you’re having housing issues, or if you’d like to learn more, please contact us at or text TENANT to (401) 307-1692. You can also find us on Facebook, where we share news, events, and updates.
- Direct Action for Rights and Equality, DARE: DARE is prepared to assist tenants facing eviction for non-payment of rent, because of landlord retaliation, or other reasons. Contact if you receive an eviction notice of any kind.
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
- 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
- The House of Hope outreach program works with people experiencing homelessness. You can reach Megan at (401) 484-0234 (call or text) or
- 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 December 31, 2020, at the earliest. It also requires mortgage servicers to provide up to six 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:
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mortgage Relief Options
- National Housing Law Project Fact Sheet
- This FAQ from the US House Committee on Financial Services
- This fact sheet from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- This fact sheet from the Federal Housing Finance Agency
- Fact Sheet from Homes RI/Hoja informativa para los dueños de casa.
- 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
- Preventing Foreclosure: Check out this guide on avoiding foreclosure from Property Management
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.
- 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
If you are a front-line worker in need of free housing, check here for more information on the dorm rooms that the state has made available in partnership with Brown University