Housing Authorities in Rhode Island

State of Housing in Rhode Island Rhode Island received two rounds of modest grants from HUD to renew support for the state’s 43 local housing programs. The third round will be given toward the later part of 2013.

Section 8 and Other Subsidized Housing

There are approximately 150 Section 8 and other subsidized developments in Rhode Island. These are the entities that provide the bulk of funding for the building and operation of affordable homes and apartments:

  • Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI);
  • Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP);
  • Housing First Rhode Island - a supportive housing program that provides services to help the chronically homeless, and
  • The Thresholds Program-assiststhose with persistent mental illness in their housing needs.

Assistance for Emergency Housing Needs

The Department of Human Services administers the Emergency Housing Assistance Program for those who need immediate assistance finding a home due to eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence or any housing crisis.

Rental Assistance

Rhode Island Housing also provides rental assistance or cash assistance to individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless due to a short term housing emergency through the RoadHome initiative.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

Rhode Island Housing manages the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in Rhode Island.The Section 8 HousingState of Housing in Rhode Island Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for helping income-eligible participants to afford safe, healthy homes in their community. The Housing Choice Voucher Program allows the individual or family to choose a home, including their present home, and use a voucher to obtain rental assistance. The landlord must agree to the terms of the program and the home must meet safety requirements.

The landlord receives a housing subsidy directly from Rhode Island Housing, on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

Building Homes Rhode Island

Building Homes Rhode Island is the state program created because of the majority of voters in 2006 that approved a $50 million bond to create affordable apartments and starter homes throughout the state. The state's Housing Resources Commission has awarded the full $50 million, creating 1,312 homes in 30 communities throughout the state.The $50 million of BHRI investments in Rhode Island have generated close to $800 million in total economic activity, multiplying nearly 16 times throughout the state’s economy.

In addition to offering a return of $16 per $1 invested, BHRI has also supported nearly 6,100 jobs in Rhode Island, generating about $300 million in wages, which workers use to purchase local goods and services and contribute to municipal and state economies. 53% of the total estimated cost of residential construction permitted from 2007 to 2010 was for developments supported by the Building Homes Rhode Island program.

Neighborhood Opportunities Program

The Neighborhood Opportunities Program is a unique, state-funded program that was designed to provide homes for low-wage working families and individuals with disabilities. The program provides funds to cover the difference between the rental cost affordable to very low-wage Rhode Islanders and the cost to owners of operating the rental units. Essentially, NOP funding allows rents to be set at a level that is both affordable for renters and sustainable for owners.

Over the past decade, NOP has played an instrumental role in growing the stock of affordable housing for those at the lowest end of the income ladder. Since its inception, NOP has contributed $44 million in gap funding for the development and operation of 1,188 units in 173 developments throughout 28 communities in Rhode Island.

Housing First Rhode Island

The Housing First supportive housing program in the RI Office of Homelessness is a cost-effective solution to the problem of chronic homelessness in Rhode Island. The supportive housing approach provides rapid access to permanentState of Housing in Rhode Island supportive housing and services that help chronically homeless citizens live independent, stable, and productive lives.

In a study completed in 2008 experts found that in the year prior to entering Housing First, the program's participants spent a combined total of 534 nights in hospitals and 9,600 nights in homeless shelters-for an annual institutional cost of approximately $31,600 per client. By contrast, during the first year of the Housing First program, study participants reported a combined total of only 149 nights in hospitals and 640 nights in shelters-for an annual cost of homelessness of approximately $7,635 per client. Including the cost of supportive services ($9,500 per person) and housing subsidies ($5,643 per person), the Housing First program costs the state $22,778 per client - or $8839 less than the institutional cost of homelessness.

Thresholds Program

Rhode Island Housing administers the Thresholds Program on behalf of the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals (MHRH) using bond funds. The program increases the supply of housing for people with serious and persistent mental illness.The program requires participating housing sponsors to make units affordable to this population in return for:

  • Funds to develop or refinance housing, and
  • The promise of mental health and social services for these units’ occupants.


The income limits for public housing and vouchers for Rhode Island are set by the government and they change every year and are different in different parts of the state and for different sized families.

Income Limits for Housing Subsidy in Rhode Island

FY 2013 Very Low-Income (50%) Limit (VLIL)
Rhode Island
Income Limit Information Median Family Income 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 VLIL $72,100 $25,250 $28,850 $32,450 $36,050 $38,950 $41,800 $44,700 $47,600
FY 2013 Extremely Low-Income (30%) Limit (ELIL)
Rhode Island
Income Limit Information 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 ELIL $15,150 $17,300 $19,450 $21,650 $23,350 $25,100 $26,800 $28,550
FY 2013 Low-Income (80%) Limit (LIL)
Rhode Island
Income Limit Information 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 LIL $40,400 $46,150 $51,900 $57,700 $62,300 $66,900 $71,500 $76,150

Some of the various housing developments in RhodeIsland are set aside especially for the elderly, handicapped and disabled. The state gives priorities to:

  • An elderly person is someone who is 62 years of age or older.
  • A disabled person is someone who is eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, or who has a severe physical or mental disability which beganbefore the age of 22, is likely to continue, and greatly interferes with his or her life.
  • A handicapped person is someone who has a long-standing physical or mental impairment which interferes with his or her ability to live alone, and whose life will be improved by a more suitable living arrangement.
  • Veterans and local residents

Unemployment Rate in Rhode Island

The unemployment rate for Rhode Island fell 0.3 percentage points in April 2013 to 8.8%. The state unemployment rate was 1.3 percentage points higher than the national rate for the month. It once peaked in January 2010 at 11.9% and is now 3.1 percentage points lower.

Unemployment RateMarch 2013Month/MonthYear/Year
National 7.5% -0.1 -0.6
Rhode Island 8.8% -0.3 -1.8

A state’s unemployment rate generally affects its housing waiting lists. The higher the unemployment rate, the longer the waiting lists. While there may be a lengthy waiting list for most of these low-income homes, you may want to contact the public housing authority in the community in which you wish to reside to get your name on the waiting list or to obtain more information.A listing of the Section 8 and subsidized developments in Rhode Island, according to location, can be obtained by calling RILS at (401) 274-2652. Please call the specific project to which you want to apply for information on how to apply.