PROVIDENCE — Housing Secretary Joshua Saal submitted a critical report on Thursday night, days after the deadline set by the same statute that created his position.
The “integrated housing report,” which was due to be submitted to the General Assembly by Dec. 31, required that Saal obtain and include approximately 35 different data points about housing in the state, such as information about the number of housing units available based on income and unit type in each city and town in Rhode Island.
It was also required that he include a recommendation “that shall provide consideration to any and all populations, ethnicities, income levels, and other relevant demographic criteria,” as well as recommendations to resolve any issues that provide “an impediment to the development of housing, including specific data and evidence in support of the recommendation.”
But the report submitted Thursday night is missing key information, including the required recommendations.
Instead, Saal wrote that the recommendations are “forthcoming” and will be included in the statewide housing plan. It’s unclear when the statewide housing plan will be submitted.
In the report, Saal indicated that he was unable to obtain information on affordability of units by municipality, unit types by ownership, the number of applications submitted or filed for each community according to unit type, and a projection of the number of units required to meet “housing formation trends,” among other things. He wrote that his requests returned “insufficient data.” The housing department did not conduct an independent data gathering process, instead relying on existing data from other entities.
All data in the report was attributed to the US Census Bureau and HousingWorks RI, a clearinghouse of housing data in Rhode Island operated by Roger Williams University. Saal also linked to the “Out of Reach” report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition in a section related to housing stock.
According to House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi’s office, Saal did not contact the Speaker to request an extension of the Dec. 31 deadline. In an email to the Globe on Wednesday, Chris Raia, a contracted spokesman for Saal and employee of Duffy & Shanley, acknowledged that the report was overdue.
“We aren’t going to comment on the reason for the delay other than to accept responsibility that the Dec. 31 deadline was not met,” wrote Raia.
Read the integrated housing report below.