City budget commits funds to create affordable housing

Housing plan will develop 750 units of affordable rental housing, officials say
City budget commits funds to create affordable housing

Madison’s 2015 Executive Capital Budget will have funds committed to addressing the issue of not having affordable housing in the city.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people are served by the shelter system in Madison annually, according to a release from city officials. Lack of affordable housing has been made worse by low vacancies in the rental market, new landlord-tenant laws and a tightened lending market.

“Housing is essential to creating a safe community,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said.

The primary goal for the Affordable Housing Strategy is to support the development of approximately 750 additional units of affordable rental housing by committing over $20 million over the next five years to a new Affordable Housing Fund, officials said.

One-third of the units created with the new fund will be permanent supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, according to the release. The other two-thirds of the units will be affordable for a variety of income levels.

The proposed 2015 budget commits $2 million to the creation of 60 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless single adults on Rethke Avenue, according to a release. The project has been awarded $5.4 million in low-income Housing Tax Credits from WHEDA.

The city of Madison will pay $1.05 million and Dane County will pay $950,000 to fund the permanent supportive housing project, officials said.

The proposed budget also includes a $4.25 million investment to create an Affordable Housing Fund to support the development of a range of affordable housing, according to the release. The fund will support a second phase of permanent supportive housing for 40-50 homeless families. The fund will also be used to leverage low-income housing tax credits to create 75-100 units of rental households.

“This is more than just housing. It’s a premise that housing has to come first and then has to be complemented with other services, which give us the kind of social cohesion the kind of neighborhoods and the kinds of opportunities that we want so badly for every Madisonian,” Soglin said.

Soglin hopes to identify as many as a dozen sites throughout the city with access to transportation, quality child care, health care, jobs and schools.

The Affordable Housing Fund will be financed by taking advantage of tax incremental financing, committing debt to support the fund, and removing the existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund and directing repayments of the existing trust fund loans to the new more flexible Affordable Housing Fund.