Housing Forward Update
Announcing a Housing Forward Progress Report
Last April, I announced my Housing Forward initiative – a short-term plan to address our housing needs in Madison. It includes a number of City efforts to increase the amount of housing in Madison, increase housing choice, create more affordable housing, combat displacement and segregation, help seniors and others stay in their homes, and expand the City’s efforts to end homelessness.
With 2022 right around the corner, it’s a good time to look back at the year’s accomplishments. When it comes to housing, City staff have accomplished an incredible amount of work in a short time. I want to celebrate and appreciate all the work they have done, and so I am proud to release this December 2021 Update on Housing Forward.
The Housing Forward Update recognizes twenty-two actions implemented this year, and more underway. Our accomplishments include the following:
- We adopted multiple zoning revisions this year to create a more standardized permit process for small and medium sized housing and mixed use developments, and for accessory dwelling units (often called backyard cottages). I am hopeful that a clearer, more predictable permit process will lead to more housing, and more types of housing, being constructed.
- We again increased City investments in affordable housing, as we have done every year of my Administration. This year we built 862 units of affordable housing and we have another 810 units in the pipeline.
- We increased funding for our biannual Housing Forward competitive award program from $1 million to $2 million. This funding supports organizations pursuing a variety of housing programs – including homeownership programs, co-housing, housing land trusts, smaller affordable housing developments, existing affordable housing preservation and renovations, and more.
- We utilized $22 million in federal COVID funds to help prevent evictions and strengthen tenant protections in subsidized housing.
- We dramatically expanded shelter options for people experiencing homelessness, and have moved forward with planning work to construct a permanent men’s shelter.
These are just a few highlights. You can read about much more that the City has accomplished this year in the full Update.
I am grateful to the incredible City staff who implemented these programs, the Common Council for their support, our non-profit partners, and private entities that have all helped make progress on our Housing Forward goals this year. While I pause to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, I also know we are not nearly done. The real metric of success is not how many actions we can tick off our list; it’s how well Madison’s housing works for our residents. It’s how affordable, how accessible, and how much choice residents have within their reach. That’s the ultimate goal.
Our work is not done, but I have no doubt that the projects and programs we have tackled this year will impact the lives of many in Madison. We will keep working until housing is affordable and accessible to all.