The State’s Housing organization, WHEDA is seeking $10 million to run a pilot in three rural communities. WHEDA Executive Director, Joaquin Altoro spoke to the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) where the Chamber’s CEO Vicki Markussen heard:
- Altoro came from commercial banking where he was successful at pulling financing packages together.
- He realized with housing need in Wisconsin, tax credits can only go so far. He is pushing WHEDA to find additional resources to leverage the tax credits more and get deals done.
- He wants to get employers invested in housing. Housing impacts health – social indicators to health
- “WHEDA Lab” is new. It looks at data behind their decisions
- The Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) & UW-Madison did a study of housing needs and found a severe shortage across Wisconsin. More Info Here >>
- Affordable is defined a variety of ways / “Workforce Housing”
- Rural communities don’t have the capacity to develop what is needed despite incentives – don’t have planning, zoning or investors
- He wants WHEDA to get engaged at “Point 1”
- Communities that are successful in housing have taken ownership. They understand the need. They can help prioritize.
WHEDA: does housing and economic development tools “which haven’t been impactful”. Want to look at CFIs (not-for-profit banks) and getting them involved in housing.
AB 544: The $10 Million Pilot
The Assembly Bill 544 will allow the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to work with three rural communities to problem-solve and implement solutions to housing challenges unique to their communities. In addition to this pilot program, WHEDA would allocate funds to support rural workforce housing, including a loan pool for rural housing tax credit projects.