The lack of affordable housing for Wisconsin residents is a blueprint for continued poverty, a serious impediment to self-sufficiency, and a drag on the local and state economies. Homeownership is beyond the reach of many. For low-income and lower middle class families, rentals are often not any more viable. It is generally accepted that for a household to maintain financial stability, housing costs should account for no more than 30% of their income. Based on the 2012 Wisconsin Fair Market Rent of $740, a person earning the states’ mean wage ($1,878.50 per month) expends just under 40% of their income on rent. For a person earning minimum wage, it is slightly more than 60% of their income. As a result, many low-income households are priced out of the housing market or forced to make difficult choices on basic needs.
To help address this situation, WISCAP’s member agencies produce affordable housing utilizing a number of programs. In 2011, WISCAP’s member agencies employed funds provided through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME), Wisconsin’s Shelter Subsidy Grant, the Housing Organization and Direct Assistance program (HODAP), the FreshStart program to:the Continuum of Care initiative to:
- help 3,101 low-income families obtain safe and affordable housing;
- provide 17,400 households with emergency mortgage or rent aid; and
- preserve and improve 7,444 affordable housing units.
Through the receipt of federal and state funds to help homeless families, member agencies work as part of local Continuums of Care to offer temporary shelter and other assistance to homeless households (2,311 such households in 2011).