New Rhode Island Bills Would Qualify Manufactured Homes As Affordable Housing
Companion legislation has been introduced in the State of Rhode Island General Assembly that would allow mobile and manufactured homes located in communities to be counted as affordable housing.
Rhode Island Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D) introduced H 5850 on March 3, 2017 that proposes to permit prefabricated housing located in mobile home parks to be counted as “low and moderate income housing within a municipality.” This seemingly minor adjustment would help Rhode Island’s many municipalities meet state and HUD mandated minimum thresholds for low to moderate income households.
Rhode Island Affordable Housing
Next up on the Rhode Island home affordability express, S 581 was introduced by Senators Morgan, Kettle, Gee, Shehan, and Raptakis. Also intended to qualify prefabricated (read: mobile) homes as affordable housing to help meet federal goals, according to the State of Rhode Island Gen. Assembly press release.
“This legislation will help towns meet the HUD standards of low-income housing,” Morgan said of Senate Bill (2017-S 581). Current rules do not permit towns to count mobile homes or manufactured homes in mobile home parks toward their affordable housing goals. “Low-income housing should include mobile and manufactured homes. Cities and towns already have this affordable housing, but cannot count that towards their requirements. Instead, they must find ways to finance new construction to build affordable units, which overall uses more tax dollars.”
Sen. Morgan explained the new legislation would also allow cities and towns to accept more federal Housing and Urban Development money. Under the proposed legislation, those mobile home parks with more than 20 units that have been on municipal tax rolls for one year would qualify as affordable housing.
The town of North Kingstown is committed to adhering to the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, but due to zoning regulations and other obstacles, it is difficult to reach the 10 percent mandate. However, if we can include mobile and manufactured homes within the act, the town, and other municipalities within the state, would easily reach the required 10 percent of low and moderate affordable housing,” said Representative Casimiro, author of legislation (2017-H 5850).
Rhode Island’s Low and Moderate Income Housing Act became law when the General Assembly determined there was an acute shortage of affordable, accessible, safe and sanitary housing for citizens of low and moderate income. Since passage of the law in 1991, only Central Falls, Providence, Woonsocket and New Shoreham have met the 10 percent threshold, while 14 cities and towns still have less than 5 percent affordable housing.
Intended to correct Rhode Island’s basic inequality with regards to affordable housing, bills like these have perished in the past six legislative sessions – dying of malnutrition in committee.