5/19/2020 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to prevent homelessness and help more families access safe housing amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced $223,885 in federal funding for two Rhode Island public housing agencies (PHAs) through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Mainstream Voucher Program. 

Providence Housing Authority is being awarded $181,273 for 15 vouchers.  Pawtucket Housing Authority will receive $42,612 for 6 vouchers.  These awards, combined with 70 previously awarded vouchers, will enable Providence and Pawtucket Housing Authorities to provide Mainstream Voucher assistance to 91 RI families. Providence received $395,940 in HUD’s 2017 Mainstream Voucher Program to administer 50 vouchers, while Pawtucket received $139,512 in 2019 to administer 20 vouchers.

Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), who led efforts to include the funding for the additional vouchers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stated: “As more people struggle financially, this federal funding will help keep a roof over the heads of some of the hardest hit Rhode Islanders.  The Providence and Pawtucket Housing Authorities have a track record of effectively utilizing federal funding from this program to assist residents and strengthen our communities.  This supplemental funding will help continue and expand those efforts to protect vulnerable people and provide a measure of housing stability during an uncertain, difficult time.”

“The widespread job losses and economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic are stretching many families to the brink,” said Whitehouse.  “This additional federal housing funding will provide more Rhode Islanders with the stability they need to stay safe during this time and get back on their feet sooner.”

“The economic downfall created by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many Rhode Island families to face impossible choices,” said Langevin. “In the wake of this crisis, housing authorities will play a greater role in ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to safe housing. I’m proud that through these critical federal funds, even more local families will not have to stress about where they will sleep at night.”

“It’s critical that we do everything we can to keep Rhode Islanders in their homes,” said Cicilline. “I’m pleased that we have secured this new federal funding for Rhode Island. These important new resources will make a real difference for folks during this crisis.”

The Mainstream Voucher Program helps PHAs transition eligible, non-elderly persons with disabilities and their families from homelessness or unstable housing into safe and affordable permanent housing. 

Mainstream Vouchers are tenant-based vouchers that serve households that include a non-elderly person with a disability.  Non-elderly is defined by HUD as someone between 18 and 62 years of age.  However, a household receiving Mainstream Voucher assistance does not lose its eligibility if the disabled person exceeds 62 years of age and the household does not “age out” of the program.  Public housing agencies (PHAs) can apply for Mainstream Vouchers when HUD issues a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).