United Way of RI to Host March 14 Housing For All Summit, Invites Community Members to Share Solutions to Make State’s Housing More Affordable

As housing affordability remains a major challenge in the Ocean State, UWRI and housing experts to cast light on importance—and health implications—of adequate housing for all income levels
Providence, R.I. (January 20, 2016) In Rhode Island, half of all renter households and 1 in 3 homeowners are cost-burdened, spending more than one-third of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads. This lack of housing affordability in the Ocean State continues to force working families to choose between food, health care, childcare and their ability to pay for housing; difficult decisions that affect families’ health and ability to save for the future and invest in education.
On Monday, March 14, United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) will host its Housing For All Summit, gathering Rhode Islanders, elected officials, community leaders, and those from the housing community at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston to identify solutions to reduce housing costs in our state. The interactive, thought-provoking summit will feature expert guest speakers, Elizabeth Falcon, Director of Housing Advocacy for the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, and Dr. Megan Sandel, Principal Investigator with Children’s HealthWatch. The event, scheduled for 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., is free and will include breakfast and lunch.
“Housing is one of the most basic of needs; it’s a common denominator we all share and one that impacts nearly every aspect of our lives—from workforce and economic development to healthcare and education,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “When families are forced to move frequently due to housing costs, interrupting a child’s education and work transportation are just two of the challenges they face with very real long-term implications.”
The summit will begin with a presentation by Dr. Sandel on the relationship between housing and health from a pediatrician’s perspective. According to Dr. Sandel, stable and affordable housing is one o the most effective vaccines for children’s overall health and well-being, making it an important issue for everyone in Rhode Island.
Attendees will also hear and discuss the findings of UWRI-convened working groups investigating the totality of how high housing costs impact Rhode Island communities. Following the release of the findings, UWRI will facilitate a community engagement session among audience members to capture ideas to create solutions for the problem at hand.
Following lunch, Elizabeth Falcon from the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) in Washington, D.C. will share lessons learned from leading the Housing for All Campaign in our nation’s capital. Over 5 years, CNHED led the charge to bring 140 citywide organizations together to push for a $100 million commitment to address D.C.’s affordable housing challenges. Falcon’s insights will help set a course for how Rhode Island can move forward.
At the conclusion of the summit, UWRI will gather the strategies discussed during the summit to collaboratively develop an action plan to address housing affordability. The action plan will be made available to all who are interested.
Those interested in attending the Housing For All Summit may RSVP to Naomi Leipold, Project Manager, Basic Supports, at Naomi.leipold@uwri.org or (401) 444-0625. Registration is also available online at: https://uwriweb.org/housingforallsummit2016.
Throughout the summit, and in the days and weeks before and after the event, members of the community are encouraged to contribute to the discussion on Twitter by following UWRI at @liveunitedRI and using the hashtag #Housing4allRI.
About United Way of Rhode Island
United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island for more than 80 years. Together with its partners, UWRI is changing lives and strengthening our communities by investing in proven programs that work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.