Providence to provide $1M in rental assistance, legal aid

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The mayor of Providence on Tuesday announced $1 million in rental assistance and legal aid for families struggling to pay their rent amid the coronavirus pandemic that has caused massive job losses.

“Even before COVID, we knew people were having trouble living here in the city,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a virtual news conference.

The initiative funded with federal stimulus money is a collaboration between the city, Crossroads Rhode Island, Rhode Island Legal Services, and the Rhode Island Center for Justice. It was announced the day before the state’s moratorium on eviction proceedings related to the pandemic is expected to lift.

About 49% of Providence renters put more than one-third of their income toward housing, according to the city’s statistics. The city has also been one of the hardest hit communities by the pandemic in the state.

The assistance will be prioritized based on need, said Jennifer Wood, executive director of the Center for Justice.



The Rhode Island Department Health reported 36 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but that was out of 3,570 people tested, for a positive rate of just about 1%.

The department also reported four additional coronavirus-related deaths, for a statewide total of 950.

The number of people hospitalized with the disease as of Saturday, the latest day for which the data was available, remained at 74, the same as the previous day, the department said.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.



Rhode Island’s two casinos started offering some table games again Tuesday.

The Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel, which both closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, entered the third phase of the state’s economic restart by opening to the public at a capped capacity, expanding hours, and offering table games on a socially-distanced basis.

Under the plan, a maximum of three players per table will be allowed and all players and the dealer must wear masks. Roulette, poker and craps will not immediately be offered.

Guests and employees will have their temperatures checked.

The casinos had reopened earlier in June for video slots and electronic games only, and by invitation to rewards program members and one guest.



The Rhode Island School of Design plans to lay off full-time faculty to help address a roughly $50 million deficit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, President Rosanne Somerson said in a statement Monday.

The school had asked the unions to accept one-time salary cuts, a temporary suspension of retirement contributions, and a temporary change to a benefit for the children of faculty. But on Friday, the 200-member full-time faculty union rejected the school’s proposal.

Jonathan Highfield, a professor of literary arts and president of the union, told The Providence Journal his board reached out to the administration in March with its own plan and got no response.


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