$2 million in state funds to help emergency shelters, low-income housing
- December 28, 2022
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The state this year will use federal coronavirus reflief funds to double a grant program that assists cities, tribes, nonprofits and other agencies that serve the state’s lowest-income residents and those experiencing homelessness.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Foundation announced $2 million in grants to fund improvements at 54 permanent and transitional living centers across the state. The grants, ranging from $2,500 to $50,000, will pay for building improvements such as roofs and other exterior improvements, furnaces and hot water heaters, and furnishings.
This year’s funding includes $1 million in annual grants from the WHEDA Foundation’s Housing Grant Program and an additional $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
The foundation received 96 applications this year totalling $3.6 million, which the agency described as an “indication of the high demand and need in Wisconsin.” According to WHEDA, the grants will fund improvements at locations that provide 1,764 beds and housing units across the state. Grants were awarded to service providers in 29 counties.
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Twenty-five service providers received the maximum grant of $50,000, but even smaller grants can make a difference for agencies with limited means, said Kendall Schoenike, assistant executive director at Hope Street in Milwaukee.
Hope Street willl receive a $13,170 grant to replace a water heater that dates to before the agency bought its building on West Capital Drive in 1999. Two years ago, a WHEDA grant helped pay for roof repairs.
The grant program is important because it pays for things that can be difficult to raise funds for from private donors, Schoenike said.
“It can be hard to find people who want to (fund) the nitty-gritty,” she said.
The program has awarded nearly 1,300 grants totaling $29 million since its inception in 1985.
“As it has for the last 38 years, the WHEDA Foundation Housing Grant Program expands the supply of safe, affordable housing for people facing housing instability,” WHEDA CEO and Executive Director Elmer Moore Jr. said in a statement.