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By Katie Davis
NBC-10 News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — The hot housing market is leaving some families scrambling to find a place to live.

For Sylvia Ruiz and her family, the search for an affordable rental in the Providence area keeps coming up empty.

“We’ve been looking every day,” Ruiz told the NBC 10 I-Team.

After 10 years in a multi-family house with her four children, her landlord delivered the news that he was selling the property.

When asked if Ruiz ever thought she would be homeless, she answered, “Never. Not with my kids.”

But that’s exactly what happened.

With no apartments available in her price range, Sylvia sent her four children to stay with relatives, while she sleeps in her car. Ruiz told NBC 10 News her kids cry every day.

“You know, it’s hard,” Ruiz said. “Soon, hopefully soon, I’ll find something.”

“What we have now is, we have a number of families with children, who are homeless,” said John DeLuca, executive director of the DaVinci Center in Providence, a social service agency helping Sylvia’s family and many others.


Numbers show the median price of a multi-family home in Rhode Island jumped from $104,000 ten years ago to $455,000 in 2022. And average rent in Providence is now $2,387 a month.

Jen Hawkins runs One Neighborhood Builders, a non-profit working to create more affordable housing.

When asked what these families can do, Hawkins said they are faced with very few options.

One Neighborhood Builders now has to compete with investors for run-down multi-family houses few buyers wanted just a few years ago.

“Certainly it’s a dire situation that we’re facing,” Hawkins said. “There’s just an inadequate supply of affordable housing, and there’s an increased demand.”