ARPA Case Study: Providence Mayor Brett Smiley Responds to Housing Demands with New Construction

Providence, like many communities across the country, is struggling to keep up with local demands for housing. While Providence has been disproportionately impacted by the state’s housing crisis, Mayor Brett Smiley has responded by investing American Rescue Plan Act dollars into emergency housing solutions and supporting housing development across all price points to meet residents’ needs.

Over the last year, under the leadership of Smiley, Providence has invested $4.3 million from ARPA to create or extend over 444 emergency shelter beds and is set to invest another $1.7 million in emergency housing support that is anticipated to benefit over 600 households. This is in addition to the ARPA funding that the city has invested in the Affordable Housing Trust that, all together, will create or preserve over 1,000 units of high-quality affordable housing projects across the city. Providence residents need both immediate support and long-term solutions to address the housing crisis, which is why Smiley has now established the Housing and Human Services Department to better coordinate and streamline the city’s ongoing investments and strategies.

ARPA Case Study: Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig Invests in Affordable and Supportive Housing Initiatives

In June 2022, Mayor Joyce Craig announced a call for affordable housing proposals to apply for $3.4 million in investments of federal recovery funds, including from ARPA. This effort built on the $2.7 million of federal HOME funds already used to develop or renovate 152 affordable housing units in the city, and in October 2023, prior to the end of her term, Craig approved $3.8 million of ARPA and HOME funds for affordable and supportive housing initiatives that will create 188 affordable units, re-open a women’s shelter, and continue an effective housing voucher program.

Projects were selected based on their potential to provide the various types of housing and services that residents need. In addition to new construction, the funding extends an ARPA-funded program to incentivize landlords to rent to tenants with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and a partnership with a local non-profit to re-open a women’s shelter for an additional 2-3 years.

“Housing is the number one issue facing our community, and we are once again taking action to ensure our residents have a safe and affordable place to live,” said Craig. “The City of Manchester is prioritizing the development of affordable housing for Manchester families and increasing shelter options for our most vulnerable community members. This latest investment will provide affordable housing and shelter for hundreds of residents.”

ARPA Case Study: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ Affordable Housing Trust Fund Funds New Construction

Mayor Quinton Lucas, allocated more than $15 million from the American Rescue Plan to address the dual issues of homelessness and affordable housing. An additional $12.5 million has been set aside to establish the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing development, paying special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations. According to the mayor’s office, the ARPA funding represents half of the city’s $25 million investment in the Housing Trust Fund, which will help the city serve hundreds of residents.

In 2023, Kansas City Council green-lit the second round of the Housing Trust Fund Advisory Board’s recommendations, allocating funds to 12 applicants dedicated to bolstering affordable housing options. The selected programs, once implemented, will realize 542 affordable housing units, serving specific demographics and needs in the community. Among these recipients are housing for veterans (55 homes), support for women in recovery from substance use (37 homes), and assistance for individuals grappling with homelessness and mental health challenges (47 homes). Additionally, plans include the establishment of a new navigation center and cottage community (38 homes) tailored to meet the unique housing needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Furthermore, the initiative aims to safeguard the residences of 232 low-income households by preserving and rehabilitating an existing affordable housing community.

As a consequence of the infusion of ARPA funds, the Housing Trust Fund has awarded two rounds of funding to 26 projects, supporting nearly 1,000 units, including rehabilitation to provide units specifically for seniors and people with disabilities.

“Since becoming mayor, I have been proud to commit $75 million to Kansas City’s Housing Trust Fund, which already has created hundreds of affordable housing units—ensuring stable and dignified housing available to Kansas Citians in all zip codes,” said Lucas.

Credit Enhancement for Housing

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Hawaii Senator Stanley Chang introduced legislation that would leverage funds to boost existing housing production programs. Each year, the state allocates funds to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund (RHRF), providing $177,000 per unit for 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects. Specifically, the bill would:

 – Guaranty Fund: Part of RHRF serves as collateral, securing loans from private lenders.

 – Interest Rate Reduction: The state leverages credit for lower interest rates.

 – Funds Stay with the State: Funds remain with the state rather than being transferred to borrowers.


The aim is to multiply housing projects.


Chang believes this legislation would enable three to four times as many housing projects while reducing risk and financial strain on the state. Given the current costs required to create one unit, reducing the impact of state subsidy per unit. This proposal will encourage the growth of the private lending industry rather than replace private sector lenders. Eventually, this will help create a critical mass of inexpensive housing.


2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Hawaii has long grappled with a severe housing shortage. Median home prices on Oahu, the most populous island, have soared to over $1.15 million for single-family homes and $515,000 for condos. This unattainable cost of living has driven many residents to leave Hawaii, resulting in seven consecutive years of statewide population decline and more Native Hawaiians living away from their homeland than within it.


Hawaii Senator Stanley Chang introduced The ALOHA Homes Program (Affordable Locally Owned Homes for All) which would promote more dense construction, sold exclusively to Hawaii residents. Key components of the ALOHA Homes Program include affordable down payment assistance, promoting socioeconomic diversity and simplifying eligibility, self-sustaining funding as the State recoups its investment through unit sales, and transit-oriented development.


The ALOHA Homes program was signed into law as a pilot program in 2023. Chang hopes the program will create momentum for many more housing projects on state lands along the rail line, eventually creating the critical mass of inexpensive housing that will house Hawaii’s future population growth. The ALOHA Homes model is essentially the method that Singapore and Vienna use to house 82 percent and 60 percent of their populations, respectively, in attractive, desirable, well-maintained public housing.

Home Act/Rent Stabilization

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando authored the Housing Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act that would protect tenants through rent stabilization, provide predictable housing costs, and help them stay in their homes over time, just like homeowners. The County Council approved renter regulations that balance the need to protect tenants with providing landlords with economic tools to maintain and build housing. Montgomery County is the first county in Maryland to establish permanent rent stabilization at a maximum cap of 6%.

The compromise bill that passed, Rent Stabilization, prevents rent gouging, reduces displacement, and creates cost predictability for tenants and landlords by:

 – Setting an annual rental increase allowance of CPI-U plus three percent, capped at a maximum of six percent;

 – Establish guidelines for fees and fee increases for regulated rental units;

 – Establishing provisions for the landlord to increase the rent above the cap and apply a surcharge for renovations; and

 – Defining a process for landlords to bank unused rental increase allowances.


The bill is already having an impact, sending a clear message that the county cares for renters and believes they should have sustainable housing with predictable costs. 

As the bill goes into effect, the county will monitor its implementation to ensure that it balances the need to protect tenants with providing landlords with economic tools to maintain and build housing. A protection or right is also only as good as it is known by the public, particularly those most impacted, and the next steps will include raising awareness among tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities.

The Maryland Fair Chance in Housing Act 2024

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Maryland Delegate Adrian Boafo introduced a “Ban the Box” policy for rental applications to prohibit discrimination against those with a criminal history from applying. Criminal history inquiries will be limited to the past three years, enabling individuals with older criminal histories to have a fair chance at securing housing, with an exception for individuals on the sex offender registry. Additionally, this bill requires housing providers to provide a physical disclosure stating the reasons for denying an applicant, fostering a more open and accountable housing system. Further, this bill mandates that all housing providers restrict their application fees to cover only the actual cost of the screening process.


Housing continues to be one of the most significant barriers for those transitioning out of prison. This bill will help send a message by helping returning citizens access essential housing.

Middle Income Housing Authority (MIHA)

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Colorado Senator Jeff Bridges’ advanced legislation to created the Middle Income Housing Authority (MIHA), an innovative tool to drive the development of affordable housing for middle-income folks. Colorado faces an acute shortage of “missing middle” housing, housing that is many working families, such as nurses, teachers, and firefighters. The program provides market-based incentives to leverage private capital and minimizes government investments. 

By treating middle-income housing like the infrastructure investment it is, MIHA represents a significant shift in addressing affordable housing by using a market-oriented approach driven by public-private partnerships. By leveraging tax-free municipal bonds and social impact investors, MIHA reduces reliance on government financing and creates a sustainable and scalable model that reinvests all profits into additional affordable housing. 

MIHA aims to increase the supply of rental housing. While developers may get a higher return by building market-rate housing, they pay significant taxes on those returns. By allowing access to the same kinds of tax-free bonds used to finance other infrastructure investments, developers using tax-free bonds for MIHA projects will see roughly equal returns. This drives investment in middle-income housing without competing for government dollars that should go toward low-income housing subsidies.


Success will be measured by the number of affordable housing units built for middle-income earners, especially in our mountain resort communities and in gentrifying neighborhoods where long-established communities are being pushed out by increased housing costs. While currently focused on rental housing, the success of this unique financial model should allow for the construction of for-sale MIHA housing as well. Over the next two years the initial six projects representing several hundred new housing units will demonstrate what works best, where it works, and why it works. The long term goal is to show a measurable decrease in the number of middle-income individuals and families across Colorado who are cost burdened, alongside a measurable increase in the supply of housing units that are affordable for those families.

Community Safety Housing Subsidy

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Atlanta City Councilmember Amir Farokhi championed the Community Safety Housing Subsidy program to address the rising cost of living in Atlanta and the challenge of attracting and retaining police and fire first responders. He hopes to combat these obstacles by setting aside $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset the cost of first-responder personnel living within the city limits. Moreover, the program seeks to facilitate neighborly and voluntary interactions between first responders and those they protect for the purpose of reducing crime, building trust, and increasing public safety.

Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are intended for monthly rent assistance. Recipients are required to be on active duty and complete 1 hour of unpaid community service per month. The amount of rental assistance will be on a sliding scale from $250 to $850 based on yearly income.


The program started accepting applications in 2023 and will measure its impact on several metrics including:

 1) More first responders choosing to live in the City

 2) Reduced attrition among first responders who are in year 1-10 of their service

 3) An increase in applications to public safety positions

 4) Increased trust in public safety officials and departments

 5) Reduction in crime.

Inequity Analysis of City of Las Vegas Fines & Fees

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Las Vegas City Councilmember Brian Knudsen is leading the assessment and update of code enforcement fines and fees related to equitability based on location and population. Knudsen aims to address the negative impacts of fines and fees on residents, particularly in neighborhoods with high code violations. The proposed study focuses on homeowners who violate property codes and aims to understand the root causes of high violation areas and the inequities associated with fines and fees. The city plans to analyze data before, during, and after the implementation of the SHIFT Program (Safe Home Improvements Funding and Training program), which provides funds and resources to assist eligible households in bringing their homes into compliance with municipal codes. The city has identified neighborhoods with high code violations and inequities, such as high numbers of a particular ethnicity, elderly homeowners, and disabled homeowners. The study aims to achieve a reduction in code violation debt, increased participation in the SHIFT program, and culturally competent financial education for communities in need, thus lowering the average overall debt in underserved areas of the city.  



The study was selected for being funded through the National League of Cities via their CAFFE (Cities Addressing Fines and Fees Equitably) grant. The study is currently underway looking into how the SHIFT program will be used, and will aid in counting overall citation amounts in identified areas of high code violations. Coupling this with policy changes to eliminate double permit fees for those not in code compliance will ultimately lead to consumer savings in underserved areas.