Yes On 7’ campaign launches in support of $50 million Housing Opportunity bond
Elected and community leaders gather to urge passage of Question 7 on
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (September 15, 2016) – To support the passage of a $50
million affordable housing bond that will appear before Rhode Islander
voters in November, state leaders, employers, affordable housing advocates,
and community members gathered to officially launch the ‘Yes On 7’ campaign.
More than 200 supporters attended the campaign kick-off at the Gately
Building in Pawtucket, a newly renovated historic building funded, in part,
by prior housing bond dollars. The renovated building includes a commercial
kitchen, community space, and 13 affordable apartments for low-income Rhode
Speakers at Thursday’s event (including Governor Gina Raimondo, Pawtucket
Mayor Donald Grebian, Tony Maione of United Way of Rhode Island, Jesse Rye
of Farm Fresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen Program at Gately Building, Albert
Valliere of Nation Wide Construction, and Barbara Fields of Rhode Island
Housing) pointed to neighboring states, who have demonstrated greater
affordable housing investments. Massachusetts, for example, invests $99 per
capita on housing and homelessness programs, and Connecticut invests $76
per capita. Rhode Island only invests $8 per capita on affordable housing
and homelessness prevention programs.
Rhode Island has also ranked last in the nation (from 2011-2015) for
building permits. That is why, supporters urged, the Housing Opportunity
bond is critical for Rhode Islanders and the state’s economic vitality.
The state’s past two affordable housing bonds, totaling $75 million,
created 1,943 affordable housing units, leveraged $394.7 million in federal
and private investment, and created thousands of construction jobs at a
time when that industry was hit hard in Rhode Island.
This year, the Question 7 ‘Housing Opportunity’ bond on the November 8
ballot will provide funding for the construction and rehabilitation of over
800 affordable homeownership and rental housing units across Rhode Island,
and help cities and towns revitalize blighted and foreclosed properties.
The bond is estimated to create 1,700 good paying jobs for the state’s
building and construction workers, help local employers attract and retain
a strong workforce, and leverage $160 million in federal and private
investment in Rhode Island communities.
*Below are quotes from officials who spoke at Thursday’s event and campaign
*”Everyone in our state should have a roof over their heads. It’s not only
the right thing to do, it’s also a smart investment in the future of our
state and our economy. We can’t expect our children to learn or our workers
to succeed without a warm, safe, affordable place to come home to at night.
This housing bond will revitalize our neighborhoods, create jobs, and help
make Rhode Island a place of opportunity for everyone.” – Governor Gina M.
*“In Pawtucket, our residents work hard to provide for their families, but
high housing and rental costs make it difficult for many to make ends meet.
That’s why I strongly support Question 7 and investing an additional $50
million in affordable housing projects in Pawtucket and across Rhode
Island. Affordable homes for our residents, good jobs for construction
workers, and revitalizing our neighborhoods. Voting yes on Question 7 is a
smart investment in Rhode Island.” – Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Pawtucket*
*“Farm Fresh Rhode Island strongly supports Question 7. Funding from the
last affordable housing bond made our Harvest Kitchen space in the
beautifully restored Gately Building possible. Voting yes on Question 7
will enable even more needed investments in affordable housing and
innovative mixed-use projects across Rhode Island.” – Jesse Rye,
Co-Executive Director, Farm Fresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen Program at Gately
*“Funding from previous affordable housing bonds have meant good jobs for
my employees who have been proud to build safe, quality, affordable homes
for Rhode Island families. Voting yes on Question 7 is a win-win. Good jobs
for our construction workers and hundreds of new affordable housing units*
*across Rhode Island.” – Albert Valliere, Vice President and Chairman,
Nation Wide Construction *
*“By investing in housing, we are also investing in Rhode Island’s economy.
This bond will mean that we can do more for Rhode Islanders, just like we
did with earlier bonds, which leveraged almost $400 million in federal and
private investment and helped to finance nearly 2,000 homes,” said Barbara
Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing.” – Barbara Fields,
Executive Director, Rhode Island Housing*
*“Neighborhood supports the housing bond initiative because we know a lack
of safe, stable and affordable housing has a significant impact on the
health of our members and the cost of health care in the state.” -Peter M.
Marino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Health Plan of