The 2021 Housing Information Book published today by HousingWorks RI (HWRI) To Roger Williams University takes a broad look at the intersection between housing and health, and uses the framework of the Social determinants of health (SDOH) to explore how healthy, affordable homes connect Rhode Islanders with the opportunity for general wellness.
In Rhode Island, the primary health risk factor posed by state housing is the age of our housing stock, with nearly three-quarters predating safety regulations for contaminants like lead and asbestos. Older homes also pose accessibility risks and cost more to heat and cool. Housing of any age can pose health risks if it is not maintained or kept clean. Safety repairs not made can result in burns, trips and falls, posing risks especially to the youngest and oldest members of any household. As Rhode Island continues to make gains from healthy homes, thousands of households remain at risk.
Lead poisoning poses the greatest risk to children aged three and under due to their developing central nervous system, however, significant risks remain until the age of five. Of the 66,588 children aged five and under in Rhode Island, 73% live in units built before 1980, and 48% of those aged 3 and under. While physical disabilities affect Rhode Islanders of all ages, the largest segment is seniors. Of those aged 65 and over, 23% (40,243) have a disability and live in a house built before 1980.
The COVID-19[female[feminine The pandemic demonstrated the key role of housing in health and wellness, and highlighted the disparate impact across communities in Rhode Island. Faced with these disparities, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has become a leader in integrating the social determinants of health and promoting health equity. With Health equity zones (HEZ) operational in 26 of Rhode Island’s 39 municipalities, municipalities are looking to make the improvements needed to reduce disparities. As observed by the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health Nicole alexander scott, MD, MPH:
“This 2021 Housing Information Book clearly indicates that housing is one of many factors at the community level that have a very important impact on health outcomes. Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their postcode, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, education level, income level, or employment status. insured. To make this vision a reality, we must ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable housing. RIDOH will continue to partner with HousingWorks RI and organizations in Rhode Island that strive to strengthen health through efforts like this at the community level.
Among SDOH areas, economic stability remains central to HousingWorks RI’s vision for Rhode Island. Despite the recent rebound in employment, a housing wage gap has been present in Rhode Island for many years, but has been further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the dominance of hard-hit industries like the restaurant and hospitality industry, Rhode Island has experienced a slower recovery than the New England region. The state’s unemployment rate in June 2021 was 5.9%, compared to 5.3% regionally. Even when employed, however, the state’s high-growth occupations fail to achieve the wages needed to own or rent affordably. Of the more than 11,000 jobs represented by the 20 âhigh-growth occupations,â 72% of them don’t pay enough to affordably rent the average two-bedroom apartment of 2020 in Rhode Island.
“Rhode Island’s affordability crisis has only been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19,” said Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI. âUrgent housing needs statewide and persistent obstacles to the development of new homes underscore the need for state and local leaders to remain vigilant in their efforts to secure adequate funding. With the state’s per capita investment – at $ 18.34 in 2020 – consistently remaining the lowest per capita state investment in New England, it’s high time for government leaders to produce, conserve and maintain the Rhode Island real estate stock. We must make the necessary investments today to ensure a prosperous future for Rhode Island and its people for the long term. ”
Other key facts about the affordability of this year’s book reveal:
- More than 140,000 Rhode Island households, nearly 35%, are burdened by the cost of housing. Spending overloaded households spend more than 30% of their income on shelter, leaving less money for households to spend to support our local economies.
- Seventy-four percent of renter households with incomes below $ 14,764 are burdened by the costs. Of these, more than 17,000 pay more than 50% of their income for housing costs, making them heavily overburdened with costs.
- In 2020, for the first time since HousingWorks RI began measuring affordability against the state’s median household income, there is no municipality where the median household income of $ 67,167 could be purchased. at an affordable price.
- Rhode Island households earning $ 50,000 or less could rent affordably in only two municipalities – Burrillville and Woonsocket – and households earning the median renter income of $ 36,078 could affordably rent the average apartment from 2 bedrooms in one Rhode Island municipality – Burrillville.
- The homeownership rate for white households in Rhode Island is 68%, which is double the rate for black households and more than double the rate for Latino households. The state homeownership rate for blacks, Latinos, and Asians is 10, 19, and 12 percentage points lower than the national rates of 44, 49, and 60 percent.
- While the financial burdens for renters are relatively consistent across race and ethnicity, the financial burden rate for black and Latino landlords is 14 percentage points higher than for white landlords.
- Housing instability and homelessness remain a major concern in Rhode Island, with the number of unhomed adults increasing 68% from 2020 to 2021. Other homeless populations have also seen a year-over-year increase in years in Rhode Island according to the one-off count: single adults (10%), family members (24%) and households with children under 18 (26%).
- Disparities by race and ethnicity continue to be observed among homeless Rhode Islanders. Blacks, including those of Hispanic origin, experience homelessness at a rate nearly four times greater than their share of the general population, currently accounting for more than 25% of people who are homeless.
HousingWorks RI released on 2021 Housing Information Book virtually during a morning event. Community partners, industry leaders and elected officials gathered to listen to a presentation of key findings from the Housing Fact Book by Annette bourne, HousingWorks RI Director of Research and Policy, and to hear Adrianne todman, undersecretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (ATH), as the main speaker of the event. The Assistant Secretary discussed her plans for HUD and the state of housing in the country, and participated in a question-and-answer session.
About HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University:
HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University is a clearinghouse for housing information in Rhode Island. We conduct research and analyze data to inform public policy, develop communication strategies, and promote dialogue about the relationship between housing and the economic future of the state and the well-being of our residents.
HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University envisions a Rhode Island in which communities embrace a variety of housing choices so residents, regardless of income, can live in quality, healthy homes in vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods.