PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island leaders are looking to combat the housing crisis by committing $9.5 million in federal funds to help people struggling with housing insecurity.

The funding will be used to expand legal services available to low-income tenants, according to Gov. Dan McKee’s office. These include eviction prevention programs, counseling, and mediation between tenants and landlords.

This comes as HousingWorksRI released its annual report, which showed more than 139,000 households were “cost-burdened” last year, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Renters earning the median renter income of $38,339 could only afford to rent an average two-bedroom apartment in one Rhode Island municipality: Burrillville.

On top of that, the rate of chronic homelessness shot up by 105%, according to the report.

The report also showed that in 2021, the median single-family home in Rhode Island was valued at $365,000, a 14% increase from 2020.

The state is now seeking qualified law firms and attorneys to provide housing-related legal services. Proposals can be submitted on the Department of Administration’s website. The deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Read the HousingWorksRI 2022 Fact Book: