WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to help Rhode Islanders who have lost their jobs or had wages significantly reduced due to COVID keep a roof over their heads, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced $1,830,000 in federal rental assistance for Rhode Island.

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with public housing agencies (PHAs), helps low-income families find safe, stable rental housing.  Housing Choice Vouchers provide rental assistance to very low-income seniors, families, and individuals with disabilities.  While the vouchers are administered by HUD and PHAs, recipients are free to choose housing outside of traditional public housing units that meet program requirements.

Senator Reed, a senior member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), led efforts to include this rental assistance funding to help families in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Reed, who was part of a bipartisan working group that negotiated key sections of the CARES Act, helped include a total of $1.25 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance in the bill, which funds the Housing Choice Voucher program.

“Too many Rhode Islanders have lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to COVID-19.  This federal rental assistance will help prevent evictions and provide housing stability for folks who’ve been hit hardest and are behind on their rent due to COVID-19.  Helping vulnerable seniors and families stay in their homes is the right thing to do and a cost-effective investment in supporting safe and healthy communities,” said Senator Reed

HCV voucher holders are required to pay 30 percent of their income towards rent, with the voucher helping to make up the difference. The CARES Act included language to help tenants impacted by COVID-19 qualify for lower rent payments and this new federal funding for the HCV program will offset the difference.

This latest round of funding comes on top of a $2.5 million HCV allocation that Rhode Island received in August for 24 Rhode Island public housing agencies (PHAs) and two behavioral health centers.

Approximately 15,800 Rhode Island households rely on Section 8 housing.

This round of federal funding includes individual Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program awards to:

Cumberland: $149,440

North Providence: $14,664

Pawtucket: $242,339

Tiverton: $58,409

Rhode Island Housing: $1,379,354