Friday, October 9, 2020 - 10:36am

A Message from Mayor Rhodes-Conway

This week, I introduced proposals to direct almost $8 million to homeless services, rapid rehousing, and new affordable housing construction. I want to thank Alders Albouras, Baldeh, Henak, and Furman for joining me in sponsoring two resolutions that will move these projects forward.

The first resolution commits $2 million dollars to emergency shelters for homeless individuals and rapid rehousing support to connect individuals and families with housing options. Working in partnership with the Dane County Continuum of Care, the City of Madison has prioritized these federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds to connect people with housing.

During this public health emergency, we must bring people experiencing homelessness inside to safe, supportive housing as quickly as possible. Many local property owners are struggling to find renters and pay mortgages amid the coronavirus pandemic. By bringing resources to bear through rapid rehousing programs, we have an opportunity to partner in ways that can benefit both property owners with unleased apartments and those needing housing. The rapid rehousing programs support households with both rent assistance and case management services but they have struggled to find available housing units in our community.

I am calling on all landlords with vacant units to work with us to make them available for people who need housing. Landlords looking to fill units and be a partner in the program are encouraged to contact the Catholic Charities Housing Navigation Services at HousingNavigation@ccmadison.org or call (608) 826-8093. Rodney Saunders, Jr. <rsaunders@ccmadison.org> is the Program Manager of Housing Navigation Services.

The second resolution provides up to $5.77 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund that will help finance the construction of over 320 units of quality housing in the City of Madison. The City will award these funds to five proposals that will apply to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for allocations of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs). The City has valued the partnership it has established with WHEDA and hopes to continue this partnership for years to come.

In addition to these five proposals, the City will also commit Affordable Housing Funds to proposals from non-profit applications that will not be applying to WHEDA for tax credits. This additional allocation of Affordable Housing Funds will further the City’s goal of creating quality affordable housing to Madison’s residents, while supporting community-based non-profit organizations in fulfilling their missions.

This group of proposals will carry two added features that the Common Council and I have prioritized -a longer period of affordability (40 years vs. 30) and enhanced sustainability/energy efficiency measures.

First included in the 2015 Capital Budget, the Affordable Housing Fund was designed to create 1,000 units of affordable housing over five years. Since its inception, the Affordable Housing Fund has leveraged over $350 million in non-City sources and has helped create over 1,300 new units of affordable housing throughout the City. For every dollar that the City has invested in affordable housing through this program, a variety of other funding sources has matched the City’s contribution by a 13-to-1 margin.

Creating affordable housing is one of the top priorities of my administration. These resolutions, which will be voted on at the October 20th Common Council meeting, are moving us in the right direction.

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