Mayor Paul Soglin told a campus learning community at Gordon Commons Tuesday afternoon, among various social justice issues affecting Madison residents and University of Wisconsin-Madison students, lack of housing poses the biggest threat to the area.
Soglin discussed various social issues including lack of housing and pollution, with students from the Multicultural Learning Community, a campus learning community focused on social justice and diversity at all levels of society.
Soglin said lack of housing impairs the city’s goal of creating and maintaining successful households for people throughout the city, particularly lower income individuals.
He said access to transportation, education, job training, high quality child care and personal health care are necessary to create a strong household are contingent on having access to housing.
“Housing is basic,” Soglin said. “Without housing, the [basic elements that support a household] cannot be met.”
Soglin also said UW-Madison students are connected to the city’s housing challenges, pointing to costs associated with the Mifflin Street Block Party as an example.
“The cost of the Mifflin street block party is a minimum of 5,000 visits to a health care center,” Soglin said. “The cost of the Mifflin street block party could be subsidized housing for 50 families.”
Larry Davis, a current Residence Life director and founder of the MLC, said the purpose of Soglin’s visit was to inspire them to get involved with campus, like he did when he was a student at UW-Madison.
“What’s nice about Paul is he has a strong interest in social justice issues and the students have a strong interest, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to ask him questions about he got involved,” Davis said.
Students like freshman Taewee Kahrs said Soglin’s discussion was very relatable to students and provided a nice look at other topics that are not typically discussed.
“A lot of the things he talked of were things that in my community aren’t talked about, at least not with kids our age or younger,” Kahrs said.