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Rhode Island rent and housing assistance.

The state run Rhode Island Housing organization can provide emergency rent and mortgage assistance to people facing an eviction, foreclosure or homelessness. Another program offered by the agency can provide financial help during the winter months for paying heating and utility bills. Find more information on both RoadHome Emergency Housing Assistance as well as Heat Assistance in Rhode Island below.Details on the application process and key phone numbers are listed.

A resource known as the RoadHome Emergency Housing Assistance (RHEHA) program may be able to provide financial assistance to Rhode Island families and individuals who are faced with a housing crisis, such as a foreclosure or eviction. The primary goal is to prevent homelessness across the state. There are a few organizations that take part in the RHEHA service. The goal is accomplished by offering cash assistance to struggling individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless as a result of short term financial hardships that are beyond their control.

The RoadHome Emergency Housing Assistance program can provide up to $1,200 to qualified participants for paying first month's rent, mortgage payments, or funds for a security deposit. Applicants of the program must be facing a temporary housing emergency and they will need to meet strict income and eligibility requirements. A key condition as well is after receiving cash assistance, the family needs to be able to sustain their housing costs and make payments on their home loan or rent over the long term.

Assistance is provided through various community-based organizations, including Rhode Island Community Action as well as Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. Many other local charities are aware of the program and can refer clients to it. Funds are provided by Rhode Island Housing and various rules and regulations.

The Rhode Island Supportive Housing Program (SHP) is another option for struggling families. This particular resource is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The federal government helps fund the program through various government grants. The programs offered provide the low income with housing services and all financial aid is targeted at the homeless population along a Continuum of Care type concept. The types of low income housing assistance offered include.




  • Permanent Housing – This service is for long-term community-based housing and supportive services for homeless persons with medical conditions, specifically disabilities.
  • Safe Havens – Low income housing and shelters are offered for hard-to-reach homeless persons with severe mental illnesses who are currently living on the streets and have been either unwilling or unable to participate in other supportive services.
  • Transitional Housing – Homeless individuals in the community can access this temporary resource in which homeless persons live for up to 24 months. A key part of this resource is the additional supportive services that are administered and that enable the homeless to live more independently.

The primary goal of this supportive housing program is to enable the homeless and special needs population to live as independently by offering short term housing solutions. Once the crisis has been averted, agencies will then help by offering longer term support in a permanent setting.

Shelter Plus Care Program – Aid is offered to hard-to-serve homeless persons with disabilities. This includes those with serious mental illness, people who have chronic problems with drugs, alcohol, or both. There is support for residents who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other related diseases. The Rhode Island Shelter Plus Care Program (S+C) is designed to link these qualified individuals with various rental assistance programs and supportive services, and the program provides emergency cash grants to be used as a form of one time rental assistance. The money will only be used for permanent housing for homeless persons with disabilities.

Another resource is the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program. This addresses housing issues and basic needs of people who are living with HIV/AIDS. The program provides help to their immediate family members as well.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established this resource for HIV patients across the nation including Rhode Island. Funds are distributed to those who need help and who are qualified by local communities, states, charities, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low income persons and their families that have HIV/AIDs. Depending on the individuals needs, emergency HOPWA funds may be used for paying for a wide range of housing, rent, or cover social services. HUD funds can also pay for program planning, utilities, and other basic needs and expenses.





Specifically money may be used for expenses, including, but not limited to, emergency rental assistance and short-term payments to prevent homelessness. Other uses of the Rhode Island funds that are part of HOPWA may include health care and mental health services, case management, chemical dependency treatment, nutritional services, and financial assistance with daily living, energy costs and other supportive services.

Last, but not least, Rhode Island Housing provides Heat Assistance. This program is one of its kind, and it can allow customers who are in the FirstHomes program the ability to defer $200 a month from their monthly mortgage payments for up to four months during the winter season. The intent is to lower their payments to free up funds for paying heating bills during the cold weather winter period.

The assistance is offered with the understanding that the homeowner will pay an extra $100 a month after the heating season is over to make up the difference in the underpayment that was allowed in the winter. So it is in effect a forbearance type arrange, as the energy bills will still need to be paid in the future. The heating program is free and does not increase the interest or principal payments that customers need to pay on their mortgages.

Phone number

To learn more about these various rent, mortgage, housing, and heating programs, call Rhode Island Housing, which is based in Providence, at 800 427-5560.

By Jon McNamara

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