Best Affordable Housing Plan in 20 years!

Posted August 27th, 2014 @ 1:16 PM by

Yes! The Mayor and the staff that worked on this plan get a HUGE thmubs up from me . . . let’s see how the council and the community do?! Let’s hope the predictions of the mayor that the council will say this is not enough are true! Many of the concepts and ideas are included in the Presentation of the Housing Strategy Committee – Affordable Housing Market Report (Best damn report I’ve seen in 20 years as well!) that was recently completed and making its way through committee!

Today at the 11:00 Press Conference the mayor revealed what will be in the capital budget regarding affordable housing. Music to my ears! (Transcript of the alder briefing and the press conference will have to wait a bit.)

Madison’s low-income population faces a large and persistent problem of a lack of affordable housing that results in high levels of housing cost burden and at the extreme, homelessness. This lack of affordable housing has recently been exacerbated by historically low vacancies in the rental market, new landlord-tenant laws, and a tightened lending market, all of which are making it harder for low-income households to participate in the Madison housing market.

According to the Affordable Housing Market Report, in the City of Madison:
– Annually 3,000-4,000 people are served by our shelter system, 1 in 3 are children
– 50% of renters pay more than 30% of their income in rent (housing cost burdened)
– 30% of renters pay more than 50% of their income in rent (severely housing cost burdened)

The results of these housing challenges are that these households face greater difficulty paying for food, medications, transportation, and other basic needs. They are also more likely to be evicted from their homes and to suffer homelessness. These effects can negatively affect family members’ nutrition and health, children’s educational development, and parents’ ability to maintain steady jobs. The cost to our community of these effects can be substantial, especially chronic homelessness which is associated with higher use of shelter, law enforcement, emergency rooms, and other social services.

The primary goal of the City of Madison Affordable Housing Strategy is to support the development of approximately 750 additional units of affordable rental housing by committing over $20 million dollars over the next five years to a new Affordable Housing Fund. Most of these funds will be used to take advantage of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to finance new housing development. Developments will be encouraged to locate in sites served by public transit, healthcare, grocery, and other key amenities. Funds will also be used to support homeownership programs while continuing to finance existing programs and agencies through current funding mechanisms.

– 1/3 of the units will be Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness
o Developments will provide permanent housing with associated social services
o Funding will prioritize a Housing First and Harm Reduction service model
o 60 units on Rethke Avenue have already been awarded Affordable Housing Tax Credits
– 2/3 of the units will be affordable at a variety of income levels to meet market needs
o Affordable to households at or below 60% AMI ($48,480 for a family of 4) with a mix of units affordable to households below 50% ($40,400 for a family of 4) and 30% AMI ($24,250 for a family of 4)
o This City investment be used to leverage federal Affordable Housing Tax Credits for the development of these units
– Expand down payment assistance and housing rehabilitation programs low and moderate income households
o Consider raising the program income limits and targeting specific neighborhoods

The creation of a new Affordable Housing Fund requires drawing funds from a variety of funding sources including:
– Draw down the existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund and direct repayments of the existing Trust Fund loans to the new more flexible Affordable Housing Fund
– Commit general obligation debt to support the Affordable Housing Fund
– Affordable housing developments should be targeted to high performing TIDs that have the capacity to support affordable housing developments

The City of Madison 2015 Executive Capital Budget will include a significant commitment of new funds to address affordable housing in the City.

The proposed Capital Budget commits $2,000,000 tot he creation of 60 units of Permanent Supportive Housing for chronically homeless single adults on Rethke Ave. The development successfully applied for and was awarded $5.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from WHEDA earlier this year. This investment represents $1,050,000 in general obligation borrowing form the City of Madison and $950,000 from Dane County.

The proposed Capital Budget includes $4.25 million in new investment to create an Affordable Housing Fund to support the development of a range of affordable housing. The Fund will support a second phase of permanent supportive housing targeted at 40 – 50 homeless families. The Fund will also be used to leverage Low-Income Housing Tax credits in projects from qualified developers to create approximately 75-100 units of rental housing for households at or below 60% of AMI including units affordable to households at or below 50% or 30% of AMI.

The Affordable Housing Fund will be financed by:
– Drawing down the existing Affordable Housign Trust Fund and directing payments of the existing Trust Fund loans to the new more flexible Affordable Housing Fund
– Committing general obligation dbet to support the Affordable Housing Fund
– Taking advantage of tax incremental financing

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