By Ian Donnas
The Public’s Radio

The state Housing Resources Commission approved Tuesday the first round of spending from a $65 million affordable housing bond approved by Rhode Island voters in March, awarding more than $1 million each to 10 different developers.

The HRC received $50 million in proposals, and it signed off on $32.9 million in spending meant to create 638 new units of affordable housing.

Most of the spending is supposed to create new houses and apartments, while a smaller amount will renovate existing housing.

Rhode Island voters have periodically approved bonds to create more affordable housing, although these have barely made a dent in the state’s long-running housing crisis.

According to the 2021 fact book by Housing Works RI, an advocacy group, “More than a third of Rhode Island households, or 140,535, are housing cost burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs; of these households, nearly 60,000, or 43 percent, are severely cost burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs. Paying too much for housing exacts costs on personal well being and on our local economies by forcing choices about other necessary goods and services.”

The largest amounts approved for individual developers by the HRC are as follows:

One Neighborhood Builders, $5,121,000 million for two projects: $3,445,000 million for Villas Above the River in Providence [recently renamed The Avenue], rental/new rental production/preservation, and $1,676,000 million for Residences at Riverside Square in East Providence, rental/new production …