At its meeting on Thursday, The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved four new affordable housing projects.
The new developments — located in Madison, Mount Horeb, McFarland and Fitchburg — will jointly provide 314 new affordable housing units. The county has allocated just north of $4.3 million dollars to four different developers to fund the projects.
As part of that deal, the new housing projects will be either partially, or in some cases fully, devoted to affordable housing.
Who’s eligible for “affordable” housing varies from area to area and person to person. To qualify for these homes, residents must make below a certain percentage of the surrounding area median income.
The new funds come courtesy of Dane County’s Affordable Housing Development Fund, which was initially launched as part of the county’s 2015 budget. County Board Chair Analiese Eicher says that fund was initially targeted towards projects in the Madison area, but it’s since expanded county-wide.
“We’ve been able to expand from just outside the city of Madison to almost ten other municipalities within our county for affordable housing projects,” Eicher says. “Housing affordability is an issue countywide.”
Since the Development Fund’s creation in 2015, it’s supplied more than $17.8 million dollars to the county’s housing projects — which translates to the creation of around 1,400 affordable housing units.
More than half that funding has gone to projects in Madison, with the remaining 7.8 million dollars allocated to projects throughout the county.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says that the county has been gradually increasing the amount it invests into the fund since its creation.
“We started out at a certain level of funding in 2015, and from that we could gauge the fact that there was a lot of need. So, we’ve increased it every year and, this year, the final budget had seven million dollars for the next round of proposals,” Parisi says.
He explains that the pandemic has only exacerbated that need for affordable housing. The new funds are just one part of a multi-pronged approach Dane County is taking to address pandemic-induced housing issues.
“We have efforts on a number of fronts,” Parisi says. “We have multi-million dollar eviction prevention programs underway right now and we have a lot of housing case support that we’re doing.”
About $1.35 million of last week’s approved funds will go to a 51-unit workforce housing project in Mount Horeb. The second most expensive project, and the largest by occupancy, is a 127-unit development in the Nine Springs Neighborhood in Fitchburg.
That development will take about $1.25 million of the county’s allocation. And a 51-unit, $608,000 development is slated for Macfarland, as well.
And finally, here in Madison, nearly $1.2 million dollars is being allocated to a 110-unit building on the city’s north side.
(PHOTO: Brian Standing / WORT News)