Tree Lane Family Supportive Housing

In 2013, the City of Madison, with the support of the Common Council, commenced a broad effort to add up to 250 units of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness, part of a broader effort to add 1000 units of affordable rental housing.  This program was put in place after a study of best practices for housing people experiencing chronic homelessness. The City issued its first request for proposals for a partner with experience in housing for chronically homeless adults to provide development, management and supportive services.  Heartland Housing applied, was selected by a City appointed panel and approved by the Common Council.  Heartland Housing, Heartland Health Outreach (the chosen support service provider), the City of Madison and Dane County collaborated on the first, larger-scale permanent supportive housing development in our community.  The development, Rethke Apartments, opened in 2016.  In 2014, the City had issued a second request for proposals for a partner with experience with housing for chronically homeless families.  Again, Heartland Housing, Inc. applied, with YWCA of Madison as its partner for provision of supportive services.  A  City appointed panel, which included several alders and County representation, recommended the Heartland Housing/YWCA team and the Common Council approved Heartland Housing's selection.  This second property was built on Tree Lane.  It opened its doors in June 2018 and moved 45 households, including 104 children, into housing.  These families have experienced chronic homelessness and are some of our communities most vulnerable households.  Our community's ability and willingness to address their needs is critical, whether they live at Tree Lane Apartments, on the street or in a shelter.

Research shows that, to be successful, permanent supportive housing must have strong property management that engages residents, enforces reasonable rules and works closely with a supportive services provider to address the needs of the residents. The services vary by household but might include such things as employment assistance, support with physical or mental health needs, childcare, transportation, financial literacy or assistance with activities of daily living.    Under the best of circumstances, families that have experienced extended periods of housing instability face significant obstacles to success.  However, the property management and delivery of support services in the first six months since Tree Lane Apartments opened has been unsatisfactory.  The result has been a spike in the number of calls for police services in the area, unsafe conditions for residents and disruption to the quality of life for area residents and businesses.  In November, in response to this situation, the Mayor assigned Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes to engage with stakeholders including Alder Skidmore, neighborhood residents and businesses, property residents, Madison Police Department, Heartland Housing leadership, the YWCA, MPI security, and other organizations that can help provide additional needed services to residents.  The team has been meeting weekly since November and has identified and implemented a host of improvements.

The approach to addressing safety and security issues at the Heartland Housing property on Tree Lane has five key components.

  • Improved Security
  • Improved Supportive Services
  • Coordination between Property Manager and Supportive Service Provider
  • Accountability of Property Owner and Manager for safety and security of residents and neighbors
  • Tree Lane Resident Engagement and Placemaking




Last Updated: 03/01/2019

Contact Information


The purpose of this website is to provide updates from the City of Madison specifically related to Tree Lane Apartments. The Mayor and Alder Skidmore are committed to ensuring the community is well informed. The City hopes that communication shared on this website will achieve that goal and will update the site as needed. However, this site is not an active blog and will not be updated daily.  


If you have questions that have not been addressed contact Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes at