Each year, NWBRV works with coalitions, partners, and residents to make our voice heard at the local and state level. In the past, we have celebrated advocacy “wins” such as the passing of the State of RI’s Low-Mod Income Housing Act, the passing of the State’s $50 million Housing Bond, and the continued funding of the Neighborhood Opportunities Program. Some of the current advocacy campaigns we are working on include:
Payday Lending Reform
So-called “payday lending” is a short-term loan until the borrower’s next paycheck. The problem? Current interest rates in Rhode Island, figured out on a yearly basis, are nearly 260% APR and the customers are almost always the working poor. One of our key goals for the community, economic stability, is threatened.
Over the past three years, NWBRV worked with a coalition of local leaders from around the state to write legislation that would limit the fees and interest rates of payday lending institutions in RI. The Coalition has even partnered up with the Capital Good Fund and the United Way of RI to pilot a program to offer an alternative loan product to the traditional payday loan!
Download the Fact Sheet on payday lending here.
To get involved or learn more, contact Margaux Morisseau at 401-762-0993, ext. 233, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the grassroots efforts online via Facebook at “Rhode Island Payday Lending Reform” or on Twitter @PaydayReformRI.
Maintaining Affordable Family Housing for Future Generations
When the Woonsocket Housing Authority proposed the demolition of over 180 units of affordable family housing in the Veteran’s Memorial and Morin Heights Public Housing Developments, residents were shocked. The developments had existed as a stepping stone for local families in the community for over 50 years. Soon a coalition of residents and stakeholders from around the community, including NWBRV, formed to fight the proposal and protect the housing units for future generations. In 2010, the coalition was notified that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had denied the Woonsocket Housing Authority’s application to demolish the units. Despite the ruling, efforts to eliminate the housing units and move to a voucher program continue and the ongoing, resident-led effort remains in place. The group is now engaged in a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.