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The Rhode Island Division of Planning consists of three main components: the Statewide Planning Program, the Office of Housing and Community Development, and the Water Resources Board.

Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program

The Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program prepares and maintains plans for the physical, economic, and social development of the state; encourages their implementation; and coordinates the actions of state, local and federal agencies and private individuals within the framework of the state's development goals and policies. The basic charge is established by Sections 42-11-10 and 12 of the General Laws. The Statewide Planning Program consists of the State Planning Council and staff who specialize in land use, comprehensive planning, GIS, transportation and other related topics.

The Program, acting as staff to the Metropolitan Planning Organization is recertified by the United States Department of Transportation every four (4) years. The last recertification took place in 2010. The recertification report is available here.

The activities of the Statewide Planning Program are guided by a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The UPWP for fiscal year 2015 can be found here FY 2015 UPWP. The program prepares quarterly reports detailing the progress of activities contained in the UPWP.

Rhode Island Office of Housing and Community Development

In 2005, through gubernatorial action, the State formed the Rhode Island Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD).  This office, under the Division of Planning in the Department of Administration, brought together the various housing and homelessness functions of the State into a single agency.  Essentially this effort consolidated the State's Housing Resources Commission (HRC) with the State's Office of Community Development (OCD).  OHCD coordinates housing functions and selected community development activities of agencies and subdivisions of the State.  The primary purpose of the office is to promote decent, safe, and affordable housing opportunities; create a suitable living environment; and expand economic opportunities, principally for low-and moderate-income Rhode Islanders.

The OHCD is generally comprised of several sections:

  • Office of Community Development – responsible for administration of the State’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), CDBG – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and other housing/community development initiatives.
  • HRC – Office of Homeownership, Community Development and Technical Assistance – responsible for coordination of the State’s housing bond funding, known as Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI) and the State’s Neighborhood Opportunity Program (NOP). This office also assists with foreclosure related activities.
  • HRC – Office of Homelessness Services and Emergency Assistance – responsible for administration of homelessness planning and programs, assisting a variety of provider agencies throughout the State.
  • HRC – Office of Policy & Planning, Performance & Evaluation – responsible for working with municipalities towards their fair and affordable housing goals.
  • HRC – Office of Healthy Housing – responsible for issues related to Lead Based Paint Hazards, Mold, Asthma and other safe/sanitary housing conditions.

Rhode Island Water Resources Board

The Rhode Island Water Resources Board and Water Resources Board Corporate have broad authority in planning, developing, and managing public water supplies. Together, these two agencies support the proper development, protection, conservation and use of the state's water resources while providing for economic development and protection for the environment.

The Rhode Island Water Resources Board Corporate ("Board Corporate") is a legal entity separate from the Board. It is a body politic and corporate and a public instrumentality of the state having a distinct legal existence from the state and not constituting a department of state government. The Board Corporate is charged with establishing water supply facilities, leasing those facilities to cities, towns, districts and other municipal, quasi-municipal or private corporations or companies engaged in the water supply business in Rhode Island, contracting for use of such facilities, or selling the water derived from, carried by or processed in such facilities. Board members are also members of the Board Corporate.