A triple-decker home on Bowdoin Street in Providence where Luzcelenia Feliciano died had a long history of code violations.
Experts say her death brings Providence’s shortage of affordable housing into sharp focus.
"The connection is absolutely apparent,” said Jennifer Hawkins, who is the executive director of One Neighborhood Builders, an Olneyville-based non-profit builds affordable homes in Providence.
"We have 375 apartments around Providence,” Hawkins said. “But the waiting list for those apartments can be upwards of three years."
With no affordable options, Hawkins said low-income families can be forced to turn to illegal and unsafe rentals. Feliciano was one of several people who rented individual rooms from the property owner, Dexter Jackson.
Neighbors told NBC 10 that tenants paid $400 for their rooms, and a city inspector who visited the property just three days before the fatal fire noted that it was being operated as an illegal boarding house.