GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island’s economy and housing market have experienced strong positive trends in recent years. I am proud to say that part of our economic comeback is a result of the work of RIHousing.
2018 was a strong year for the corporation. RIHousing pumped $780 million into the state’s economy, providing homes for Rhode Islanders that are within their financial reach while creating jobs, building strong communities and promoting economic development. These housing investments strengthen our workforce, boost our construction and real estate industries, and bring us closer to our goal of ensuring every Rhode Island family has a home within their financial reach.
For more than 45 years, RIHousing has helped generations of Rhode Islanders across the state find a place to call home. A range of stable housing options is essential to healthy families and sustainable communities. Working across the state, RIHousing provides crucial resources and programs to help residents find and keep good homes. Access to housing options also helps businesses attract and retain top talent.
As we look to the future, the corporation’s work is critical to ensuring housing is affordable to Rhode Island’s residents. RIHousing’s investments help young people become first-time homeowners, ensure families have a home where their children can grow, and allow seniors to age in place.
These are ambitious goals, but we have the energy and commitment to make them happen. Together, we can achieve great things for our state.
CHAIRMAN OF THE
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
In reflecting on our 45-year history, RIHousing has much to celebrate and a solid foundation to build upon as we plan for the future. In 45+ years, we’ve helped define the housing landscape in the state, helping more than 72,000 families buy a home and financing the construction of more than 14,000 apartments for low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders. During this same time, we’ve pumped billions of dollars back into the state’s economy and created thousands of jobs in the process.
Closing out one chapter and beginning a new one provides us with the opportunity to re-commit ourselves to our mission and message that commitment to Rhode Islanders with a new look and logo. At the start of 2019, we rolled out an updated logo and look for the agency with a tagline that reflects our deep commitment to Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders: Invest. Build. Believe.
This new messaging provides us with the opportunity to reflect on who we are, what we do and where we are going. As the State's housing finance corporation, RIHousing provides critical financing and resources to offer housing options to Rhode Islanders. We invest everything we earn back into helping Rhode Islanders, advancing the state's economy and enhancing programs and capacity.
As we transition into this new chapter, we will also be welcoming new leadership. In March, we said goodbye to Barbara Fields and thanked her for her four years of service to RIHousing as our Executive Director. Barbara’s direction helped transition RIHousing and position us to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders in an everchanging housing landscape.
We will continue to pursue a mission that has endured for over 45 years as we help Rhode Islanders buy, keep, rent and build homes. We’re already making great progress in 2019. With even more tools to help Rhode Island homebuyers, additional funding for the creation and preservation of affordable homes, and strategic partnerships to move our state forward, we continue to support Rhode Islanders with innovation and pride.
We are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. Stay tuned while we continue to Invest. Build. Believe. in Rhode Island!
RIHousing invested $780 million into the State’s economy. This included $458 million in mortgages and assistance to homebuyers and homeowners, $139 million in financing to construct or rehabilitate 773 apartments and $183 million to help thousands of Rhode Island renters.
1,060 from mortgage lending activity
1,261 from construction financing
38 cities & towns
– highest closing volume in 45+ year history.
325 HelpCenter Assistance
175 HHFRI Assistance
foreclosure prevention, mediation counseling and Hardest Hit Fund assistance
Administered $183M in Funding from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
$16M Housing Choice Voucher Program
$167M Project Based Rental Assistance
773 apartments developed or preserved
1,261 jobs created and supported
“Housing is where jobs go to sleep at night.” Nicolas Retsinas, RIHousing Board of Commissioners
The production and availability of housing remains a necessity for economic development in the state. Since pulling out of the recession, Rhode Island’s economy and housing market have been experiencing strong positive trends. Steep declines in unemployment, foreclosures, distressed home sales, and increases in home sales and home values mean our state is making great strides.
The economic benefits of housing development and mortgage lending are far-reaching and have a significant impact on Rhode Island. For every dollar RIHousing invests, there is a ripple effect felt across the state. In 2018, we leveraged federal resources with private funds to finance more than $139 million in housing development and redevelopment – meeting critical housing needs while putting Rhode Islanders to work in communities statewide. Collectively, our 2018 investments sent $82 million in wages and spending into the state’s economy and provided both one-time and long-term jobs.*
*Data: Job estimates include jobs supported in construction and related activities on a one-time and ongoing basis
State & Local Public Revenue
Income for Owners & Employees
Generations of Rhode Islanders have found a place to call home with RIHousing’s homebuyer programs.
RIHousing’s mortgage lending activity continues to soar. In 2018, we achieved our highest mortgage volume in our history. More and more homebuyers, realtors and lender partners are looking to us for mortgage lending, down payment assistance and homebuyer education. Through our network of Participating Lenders and the RIHousing Loan Center, over $445 million in mortgages were made to 2,121 families, generating 1,060 jobs and infusing millions of dollars into the Rhode Island economy. In fact, our 2018 mortgage volume eclipsed the previous high of $371 million recorded in 2017 by 20%.
Increasing home values, a tightening inventory of available homes, and minimal housing production mean Rhode Islanders need more opportunities to help them achieve their dream of homeownership than ever before. That’s where RIHousing steps in. With innovative financing programs, competitive interest rates and a statewide partnership of lenders and real estate professionals, RIHousing programs respond to the needs of Rhode Island homebuyers. In fact, more than 80% of our mortgage customers also receive extra assistance in the form of down payment and closing cost assistance.
Improving relationships with our participating lenders, has helped RIHousing increase loan production and get more families into good, healthy homes. Since 2013, RIHousing has seen double digit percentage increases in loans, with 88% coming through lending partnerships in 2018.
Educating consumers on the homebuying process and the responsibilities of homeownership are critical aspects of our mission. That’s why we offer in-person and online homebuyer education classes in English and Spanish. Providing the flexibility of both online and in-person classes allows consumers to pick the class that best meets their needs.
Whether class participants purchase a home soon after taking a class, or wait a few years and prepare themselves to become a successful homeowner, these classes build financial literacy and provide practical advice for homebuyers.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury, we were able to provide down payment assistance of $7,500 to eligible homebuyers in 6 communities. The First Down program was a primary driver of loan production in 2018. In fact, approximately 64% of our mortgage transactions included First Down assistance.
which could generate an estimated
for homebuyers in the first year alone
for purchase-rehab (203k) loans
Supporting families, enriching neighborhoods and helping build Rhode Island’s economy are at the heart of RIHousing's homeownership programs.
RIHousing supports homeowners as part of our mission to help Rhode Islanders buy AND keep a home. Our customers benefit from local loan servicing and customer service teams that understand the challenges Rhode Island homeowners face. Housing counseling services and foreclosure assistance help homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. Our LeadSafe Homes and Healthy Housing programs help property owners and landlords ensure their homes are safe and free of environmental hazards.
But we don’t do it alone. We provide expertise and capacity to state and community partners who help provide services, funding and support for homeowners.
With some of the oldest housing stock in the country, Rhode Island homeowners need resources to ensure their homes are safe, healthy and properly maintained. RIHousing addresses this need in a variety of ways:
Like many homes nationwide, Rhode Island homes built before 1978 are at high risk of lead paint contamination, creating life-threatening hazards for children exposed to it. RIHousing’s LeadSafe Homes Program provides forgivable loans to homeowners and landlords to reduce lead hazards in their homes. RIHousing, working with the RI Department of Health, Childhood Lead Action Project, the Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission and others, has been a leader in making the state’s older housing stock safer for families.
RIHousing administers the Community Septic System Loan Program and Sewer Tie-In Loan Fund in partnership with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and the RI Department of Environmental Management. The program addresses significant environmental issues and provides the financial resources homeowners need to address them.
Aging and special needs populations need homes that are safe and healthy and that don’t pose barriers to their mobility or quality of life. In collaboration with the State of Rhode Island Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, RIHousing partners to support the Access Independence II program. Loans of up to $50,000 are available for families and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities to modify their homes in order to support their needs and continue living with their families. Funds cover the costs for adaptations, including the installation of ramps, modifications of bathrooms, installation of lifts, or other equipment purchases.
Homeowners go through numerous changes over the course of their lives. From buying a "starter" home as an individual or couple, to welcoming children, pets and making the home “theirs,” Rhode Island homeowners have evolving needs to keep their homes in good repair. RIHousing’s Home Repair loans help existing homeowners finance home improvements to keep their homes up-to-date and in good shape. A variety of home improvement projects are covered by the program, including energy efficiency updates and heating system repairs.
Since 2016, when RIHousing launched Mortgage Servicing Solutions and became the first Housing Finance Agency in New England to offer mortgage sub-servicing, our loan servicing operations have grown by 47%. Including RIHousing mortgage customers and subservicing for Maine Housing, we manage a more than $2.6 billion mortgage and servicing business for over 29,000 single-family mortgages. This is in addition to the almost $1 billion in multi-family mortgages we service!
to provide foreclosure prevention assistance and first-time homebuyer loans to
Helped bill sponsors Senator Metts and Representative Messier extend the
ensuring Rhode Island families have assistance finding alternatives to foreclosure
Meeting the housing demands of the growing and changing renter population is one way RIHousing's investments create jobs and spur economic development.
Rhode Island’s growing economy and shifting demographics are driving changes in the state’s housing needs. With people waiting longer to buy their first home and a growing senior population, the need for adequate rental opportunities has never been greater. But accessing quality, affordable rental opportunities remains a challenge for Rhode Islanders. Nearly 40% of Rhode Island households are renters, about half of whom are considered cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their annual household income on housing costs.
Rental vacancy rates are at their lowest level since 2000. This tight rental market means more Rhode Island renters are feeling the squeeze of stretching their incomes to meet housing payments. Beyond the need for more rental homes, Rhode Island renters also need services and programs to help them with high rental costs.
2018 was a big year for RIHousing’s Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS). FSS provides job training, education and other services to help participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program gain skills and experience necessary to obtain jobs and achieve their financial goals. An interest-bearing escrow account enables participants to build savings. In 2018, RIHousing partnered with national non-profit Compass Working Capital to deepen the impact of its FSS program, particularly in the areas of financial coaching and data-driven program improvement.
The savings participants earns can be used to meet personal and professional goals and work toward economic independence.
Recognizing that renters who are currently “housed” are more easily assisted while “housed” than when homeless, RIHousing’s Housing Stabilization Program (HSP) is critical to both family well-being and a landlord’s bottom line. Launched in 2016, the program works to identify and preserve housing opportunities by capitalizing on existing staffing resources, partnerships and our role as program administrator of three federally funded rental assistance programs to help prevent and end homelessness. The HSP serves RIHousing involved tenants who may be in jeopardy of losing their rental subsidy or housing for any number of reasons. In 2018, 138 households, facing a range of issues that put their tenancy at risk, were helped through the program.
In partnership with the Public Housing Association of Rhode Island, RIHousing launched the Centralized Wait List (CWL) for rental voucher holders in late 2017. RIHousing serves as the CWL administrator for 17 Public Housing Associations in the state. To our knowledge we are one of the only states with a near-statewide system, giving applicants the ability to increase housing choice and reduce burdens by applying to many agencies all with one simple electronic form. Applicants also appreciate the convenience of applying from their own home or smartphone and being able to update their information at any time.
and an additional
First state to join
a national initiative committed to
by providing internet access to residents of public housing
to build financial assets through coaching and support services.
in jeopardy of losing their rental subsidy or housing
Today in Rhode Island, the demand for homes is outpacing supply and driving up the cost of housing – families at all income levels are feeling the burden of these rising home costs. Rhode Island’s housing needs are also significantly outpacing the state’s level of investment. Our state’s per capita funding of affordable homes remains the lowest in New England*. The issue is further exacerbated as Rhode Island lags behind all other states in housing production. Prices for both renters and homebuyers are rising faster than incomes and both groups are being squeezed out of the market. Despite these challenges, RIHousing continues to invest public, private and our own funds to create and preserve existing affordable rental homes.
Now more than ever it is critically important we utilize every available resource at our disposal. The market isn’t producing new affordable homes because the cost of development is greater than what low- and middle-income renters can pay. Federal and State subsidies combined with RIHousing’s investments help to fill that gap. In 2018, we made a $139 million investment in housing development and preservation, which supported 1,261 jobs and helped families access quality, affordable homes throughout the state.
* New Hampshire is not included in this analysis as the lack of a sales tax makes a meaningful comparison of the state budget difficult.
Housing is a driver of economic growth. RIHousing investments create jobs while building the kinds of vibrant communities where people want to live.
RIHousing deploys an array of federal funds to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing options. In 2018, we were awarded $4.7 million in Capital Magnet Funds (CMF), one of 40 organizations in the country to receive funds. U.S. Senator Jack Reed led the effort to create the CMF in 2008 to support community development financial institutions and non-profit housing developers that increase investment in affordable housing and economic development activities or community service facilities. RIHousing received one of the highest awards in the country.
In 2018, we funded 12 projects for a total of $5.2 million in Housing Bond Blight Funding. Approved by Rhode Island voters in 2016, these funds are earmarked for the acquisition and revitalization of vacant and/or blighted properties statewide. The program helps stabilize neighborhoods and communities by strategically targeting blighted residential and commercial properties and vacant lots in need of redevelopment.
Developed or preserved a total of
representing a $139 million investment in RI communities and supporting 1,261 jobs
Financed the development and rehabilitation/preservation of
were rehabilitated and preserved
helped to finance
was awarded to
toward the development and preservation of 273 homes
Underwrote and closed over
April 6, 2018
October 30, 2018
October 29, 2018
Pawtucket and Central Falls
October 26, 2018
November 1, 2018
September 14, 2018
May 15, 2018
We closed out 2018 awarding funding to five non-profit partners in support of six programs in Pawtucket/Central Falls, Providence and Woonsocket. The $200,000 in Community Development Program funding will have a profound impact on the surrounding communities: from “greening and cleaning” efforts along the Woonasquatucket, to engaging students and young adults in environmental stewardship efforts, to ensuring Rhode Islanders are fiscally fit.
With this recent round of awards, RIHousing has provided over $1.2 million to 30 programs in seven Rhode Island municipalities – as well as several statewide efforts – since 2015.
RIHousing sells bonds and other debt instruments to support our activities. Our financial strength enables us to access capital at a lower cost and transfer the savings to homeowners and developers in the form of lower interest rates.
Our strong fiscal management led to improved bond ratings of Aa2 to Aa1 from Moody’s Investors. In 2018, we sold $105 million of single-family tax-exempt bonds and received a clean financial audit.
We invite all readers to view our official financial disclosures on our website at rihousing.com/financials.
In 2018, we committed to make it easier for partners, renters, homebuyers and the general public to do business with us! From our recently launched LenderConnect web portal for Participating Lenders, to online applications for the RIHousing Loan Center, and online scheduling and recertifications for renters, these upgrades illustrate our firm commitment to customer service and providing “ease-of-use” systems for Rhode Islanders.
These efforts helped us improve operational efficiencies, launch new products and streamline the customer experience.
We are thankful for the service of our board members for their dedication and support, providing oversight, strong fiscal management and goals setting to the agency.
JOINT CENTER FOR HOUSING STUDIES,
Powerful words. A bold statement.
Yup…that’s the point.
There’s not a city or town in Rhode Island that we haven’t in some way touched. Look around. Whether it’s new rental homes, a mixed-use development in your downtown, or your new neighbors across the street. We’ve played a part and we want to continue to help define the housing landscape in the state.
From building homes, to helping buyers put down roots and homeowners stay in their homes, we’ve been here for Rhode Island families for over 45 years. We created thousands of jobs, pumped billions into the economy and supported Rhode Islanders on their path to homeownership. Our new online annual report illustrates just some of the highlights from 2018. We have many more stories to tell and are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. So, stay tuned while we continue to Invest. Build. Believe. in Rhode Island!