Dane County officials approved over $4.3 million in funding for constructing affordable housing during a Dane County Board meeting Thursday.
The Dane County Board plans to use the funds to create an additional 314 units of affordable housing in Madison as well as the surrounding communities of McFarland, Mount Horeb and Fitchburg. Units are considered to be “affordable housing” when renters can spend less than half of their income on housing.
The funding for the program will be drawn from the Affordable Housing Development Fund, which was initially created in 2015 to help establish greater amounts of safe, affordable rental housing in Dane County. The Affordable Housing Development Fund has contributed more than $17.8 million to construct housing 1,680 units — 82% of which are currently classified as affordable, according to Jaymes Langrehr at Channel 3000 Local News.
“As someone who is younger in Dane County and has experienced a number of different types of housing, I know and I can see first hand and have experienced the need and the struggle,” Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher said to the Cap Times. “The gap that is still so large and it really speaks to the environment that we’re in and the sheer need for the programs that we have and continue discussion and collaboration going further.”
In Madison, MSP Real Estate is using $1.2 of the total $4.3 million in total funding to complete the Oscar Apartments affordable workforce and senior housing project. The project aims to build 110 units in two buildings on 1211 Huxley St., with one building being used to house senior residents and the other primarily for family housing.
In McFarland, $608,341 is being used to complete the Taylor Pointe affordable workforce housing project. This project is expected to create 48 units of affordable housing at 4845 Taylor Rd. and 4900 Larson Beach Rd.
In Mount Horeb, $1.4 million will go to Gorman & Company for the Landsby Ridge affordable workforce housing project, which will provide an additional 51 units of affordable housing. This project will be on 204 Blue Mound St.
In Fitchburg, $1.3 million is going to Northpointe Development Corporation to create the Limerick affordable housing project. The project is planned to be on the Outlot 15 in Nine Springs Neighborhood and is expected to provide 127 units of affordable housing for senior citizens and families.
Public officials have stated that the decision to expand Dane County’s affordable housing options has been largely due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effects on unemployment and eviction in the state of Wisconsin.
“Challenges to housing affordability have been compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. By partnering together and supporting these types of projects, we can create solutions and advance efforts that make housing more accessible in our community,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi in a news release.
Dane County has struggled in the past to supply residents with affordable housing, with county officials stating that it could take up to 26 years to fill the supply gap.