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Rhode Island affordable housing bills signed into law

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(The Center Square) – Increasing affordable housing units is the focus of a new law in Rhode Island.

House Bill 6058A and Senate Bill 1051A were inked by Democratic Gov. Dan McKee on Monday. The legislation is designed to increase the percentage set aside for affordable units in qualifying construction projects and increase the number of allowable units per acre.

“Our state cannot succeed if our residents and workers cannot afford to live here, it’s as simple as that,” Rep. Marvin L. Abney, D-Middletown, said in a statement regarding House Bill 6058A and Senate Bill 1051A. “This legislation will incentivize further and expanded development of low- and moderate-income housing that is desperately needed in Rhode Island so that everyone is able to live, work and raise their families in our state.”

The bills are sponsored by Abney, chairman of the House Finance Committee, and Sen. David P. Tikoian, D-Smithfield.

According to a release, inclusionary zoning is used in the bills to ensure housing projects advance with a mix of residents who represent different economic backgrounds and circumstances. That would focus housing units on a percentage of low- or moderate-income households.

“Our state is in desperate need for low- or moderate-income housing, and this bill will allow us to build and develop the housing that our residents need,” Tikoian said in a statement. “This bill will incentivize developers to invest in our state and residents.”

According to a release, as of January, the median-priced single-family home in Rhode Island, the RI Realtors Association said, was $391,375. To afford the house, an income of $110,000 would be needed. The median household income in Rhode Island is $467,167.

Under the new laws, developers would be permitted to construct more units per acre than those set aside for low- and moderate-income homes. The bill amends inclusionary zoning to include 25% of the units to be constructed as affordable homes.

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