May 26, 2024

East Providence Needs Affordable Housing

Posted

The City of East Providence, like many other municipalities, faces a dire need for affordable housing. Each day my administration is presented with instances of young adults, seniors, veterans, and many more who struggle to find available affordable and livable space. It is important for municipalities to do their part to aid in the creation of more affordable housing.

Nonprofit affordable housing relies heavily on subsidies to offset the cost of construction and to ensure that rent can be kept affordable. One of the ways our municipality can support the creation of affordable housing is through an ordinance that allows for property tax stabilization. This is an important tool that can be used to encourage investment in blighted and neglected areas and support the development of needed housing.

Our administration sought tax stabilization to support One Neighborhood Builders’ $65 million investment in improvements to a distressed property on Taunton Avenue that will create 144 new affordable housing units. This initiative would have phased in over 10 years a state-mandated property tax alternative that requires the owner to pay 8 percent of gross rental income to the city.

The current property base tax rate of $84,300 would remain for the first three years while the project is being constructed. After that, the gross rental tax would be phased in and become fully payable to the city after 10 years. The city assessor’s calculations confirmed that the lost revenue to the city would be approximately $40,000 a year for a total of $400,000.

This initiative was my administration’s contribution to creating affordable housing. Our East Providence residents, including seniors, veterans, and children aging out of foster care would be the beneficiaries of this stabilization.

Despite Council President Roderick’s and Councilman Fogarty's support, the stabilization ordinance failed to pass, signaling a disappointing lack of support for affordable housing from the majority of the City Council. This outcome is disheartening but underscores the challenges faced by nonprofit developers in securing financing for such projects.

I remain committed to working with the city council to bring more affordable housing to our city. However, the City Council’s vote against the stabilization plan sends a clear message that we as a community must continue advocating for and supporting these critical initiatives for the betterment of our city. We need to change the council’s hearts and minds on the critical importance of supporting affordable housing.

Sincerely,
Roberto L. DaSilva
Mayor

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