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WayForward  partners with  affordable housing  developers
Housing Stability
March 27, 2024

WayForward partners with affordable housing developers

WayForward  partners with  affordable housing  developers

Many people in our community think of WayForward Resources as a food pantry.

While WayForward (formerly Middleton Outreach Ministry) is home to one of the largest food pantries in Dane County, it also operates housing stability programs that provide case management, referrals and financial assistance. This support helps families stay in their homes so they avoid the trauma of homelessness. Last year we provided assistance to more than 600 households.

There is a housing crisis in our community. The most significant shortages are among rental units affordable for the lowest-income renters, according to the city of Madison’s most recent Housing Snapshot Report. In fact, a recent study found that Madison is the fifth-most competitive small rental market in the United States. 

Why? There is simply not enough housing to accommodate the growth. Madison is on the cusp of a population explosion. The metro area is expected to add 115,000 residents between 2020 and 2050, a 42% increase. Housing experts project the community will need at least 10,000 new homes every five years to keep up, and the development of new housing has not kept pace with these projections. 

One of the challenges to building enough housing is the high cost of building new apartments, driven by competition for land, drastic construction cost increases since the pandemic, limited federal funds for supporting affordable housing, and zoning restrictions. As a result, the affordable housing sector has seen an average cost increase of around 30%, according to industry leaders.

Projects that secured low-income housing tax credits since 2019 have found themselves facing unexpected financial shortfalls, leading many to seek additional funding sources to bridge these gaps. Affordable housing developers need to find money to subsidize rental costs on behalf of future residents in addition to money to build the building.

One of the ways that WayForward Resources supports the creation of more affordable housing in our community is by partnering with developers who are building through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. WayForward currently has active partnerships with two developers. We also provide housing stability and food security supports to residents at 15 different LIHTC developments in our housing service area of West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains (our food pantry serves all of Dane County).  

In the fall, WayForward joined the celebration of the opening of Uno Terrace, one of west Madison’s most recent LIHTC projects, developed with Northpointe Development, under the leadership of Principal Sean O’Brien. The housing project on Mineral Point Road has 64 units and is designed to serve those making between 30% and 80% of Dane County’s median household income. 

Most importantly, the rents in the building don’t exceed more than 30% of a tenant’s wages. Affordable housing costs less than 30% of household income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The units are located on the Bus Rapid Transit line that is under construction and within walking distance to grocery stores and schools.

At Uno Terrace, Housing Stability Director Taylor Rozman (at right in the photo) worked with the city of Madison, the developer, and the property manager to pave the way for Case Manager Claire Baker (at left) to support low-income new residents as they moved into their new apartments. WayForward also provides ongoing case management and access to other services, including our food pantry. This is one of many similar partnerships WayForward has in the community, including in Middleton.

The development even incorporated the 1890s stone farm house — previously a Uno Pizzeria restaurant — and converted the local west side landmark into a community room. Over the Thanksgiving weekend last fall, according to a recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal, several families reserved the space for their holiday celebrations.

Celebrating major events at home in community with others. That’s the ultimate reflection of WayForward’s vision of building a community where everyone has the stability to thrive.