County to Set Aside $8 Million to Stem Homelessness
November 17, 2014
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, 608.333.2285
Similar to Conservation Fund and Sustainability Fund, Affordable Housing Fund to Invest in Accessible Residential Development
The Dane County Board of Supervisors will vote tonight on a budget that invests $2 million per year for the next four years in affordable housing, supervisors announced today.
“Access to housing remains one of the most pressing issues facing this community,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “Establishing this fund for the long term will allow us the flexibility to address needs and seize opportunities as they arise. It’s also a strong signal to private developers, foundations and other levels of government that the county is ready to partner with them to invest in affordable housing projects. We’ll put $8 million in this fund, but we’ll certainly leverage much more investment than that.”
Similar to the Conservation Fund, which is used to buy land as it becomes available for purposes of conservation, the Affordable Housing Fund will be used to buy properties, renovate buildings and build new facilities as properties, private investments, and state and federal matching grants become available.
“We need overnight shelters, and day shelters, and services to address those immediate needs of people without homes,” said Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, a lead sponsor of the budget allocation. “But we also must invest in affordable, permanent housing. When you have a roof over your head, other things fall into place. When you’re not worrying about where you’ll sleep at night, it is much easier to look for a job and help your kids succeed in school.”
“Affordable housing is a need for a wide range of people,” said County Board Vice Chair Carousel Bayrd, who also sponsored the funding. “Youth, young adults, senior citizens, families. Each group has specific needs, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. This fund will allow the County to address all those differing needs.”
“I'm pleased to see the county moving forward with a stable, long-term action plan to address housing needs in Dane County,” said Supervisor Jeremy Levin, another sponsor. “This plan signals to our potential partners that we are committed to this work and are in it for the long haul.”
The proposed $2 million for 2015 builds on the $750,000 in County Executive Joe Parisi’s budget proposal for affordable housing by adding significant dollars and formalizing the multi-year investment. The new fund will be managed by a team of existing County staff who will be able to reach out to interested partners knowing that creating affordable housing is an ongoing County commitment.
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