Advocates to Spend Thousands on Affordable Housing Bond Question
Monday, October 08, 2012
The United Way of Rhode Island has poured nearly $200,000 into a campaign set up the $25 million affordable housing bond question on November’s ballot, according to a campaign finance report filed last week.
As of the end of September, the “Vote Yes on 7” campaign had spent just $8,740 of the $189,087.36 it received from the United Way, but an increased effort to ensure that the bond passes is expected over the next month.
“While these are numbers are staggering, we know there is a solution,” United Way CEO Anthony Maione wrote in an e-mail last month. “We also know that we--each and every one of us--can do something to help our friends and neighbors who are struggling to find a safe, affordable place to live. We can vote yes on 7 and approve the $25 million affordable housing bond.”
Voters overwhelmingly approved a similar $50 million bond in 2006, which supporters say helped build more than 1,300 long-term affordable homes and generated nearly $800 million in economic activity in the state over the last six years.
“Given budgetary concerns, our leaders must make evidence-based decisions on how to spend public dollars wisely,” said Nellie Gorbea, executive director of HousingWorks RI. “Long-term affordable housing is infrastructure that enhances other public investments in health and education, while strengthening our economy. This November, voters will be able to support this evidence-based policy approach by approving Question 7 in the ballot which provides $25 million for affordable housing.”
Gorbea’s comments came late last month when HousingWorks RI released its 2012 Housing Fact Book. The report found that that the median renter household income is not keeping pace with the average rental prices of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments in Rhode Island.
If the bond passes, it would be divided into two $12.5 million payments over the next two years.
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