PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — At his weekly briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Dan McKee announced $50 million in rental and utility assistance has been approved in Rhode Island.
The governor said nearly 4,600 rental households have been awarded a piece of the $50 million, with the average assistance approved per household a little more than $7,600.
McKee said the money includes over $16 million in payments for low and moderate income customers’ utility bills.
“I think you recall that I think we had about million dollars out in the first 90 days and in the last 90 days, about $49 million, so that’s a good pace, and we’re going to keep it going,” McKee said. “Over $19 million has been approved to cover rentals that are in the rears, while $10 million dollars has been awarded for future rental payments.”
McKee said to date, $2.7 million has been awarded and an additional $16 million has been committed to cover electricity and gas utility debts.
“This assistance will reduce or clear the utility past payments for low or moderate income customers and helping these households get back on track from their impact of the pandemic,” McKee said.
McKee has previously said he’s been frustrated with the pace money had been disbursed, but says recent changes to the program requirements and review process have helped streamline the approval process to get funds out the door.
“Weekly funding approvals average $500,000 in June 2021, increasing to $2 million in August, and now we’re averaging about a million dollars a day in approval,” he said.
The governor said he’s encouraging anyone struggling with their rent and utility bills to reach out to RI Housing and apply for available funds.
McKee said the Rent Relief RI program will go for another year, and sunsets at the end of September 2022.