Milwaukee County moves forward with funding affordable housing projects in suburban neighborhoods

NOW: Milwaukee County moves forward with funding affordable housing projects in suburban neighborhoods


MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) --- Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley has signed a resolution clearing the way for funding to be provided to expand affordable housing options in suburban neighborhoods.

Tuesday morning, March 7, Crowley signed the resolution near downtown South Milwaukee. The project is nearly a $10 million investment and focuses on Wauwatosa, Brown Deer, and South Milwaukee.

"When I think about my own upbringing when I faced different types of evictions, housing insecurity, having to move all the time. This is the reason this is one of those priorities for me," said Crowley.

Right now, there are about 70,000 families earning $15 an hour or less across Milwaukee County, according to county officials. For these families, housing costs eat up more than 30-percent of their income each month. Officials say this investment hopes to close that gap.

The investment is made possible by federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Crowley says the focus is on suburban neighborhoods because he wants to diversify the county and make way for lower income families to have more options.

"This is a winning streak for affordable housing in Milwaukee County," said Shawn Rolland, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor and co-chair of the ARPA task force.

Rolland says safe and affordable housing is part of public health.

"When your housing is affordable, everything in life becomes easier and you have more dollars that you can invest back into yourself, back into your family, and back into your community," Rolland said.

The newly-signed resolution will provide funding for nearly 60 affordable rental units in Brown Deer, more than 70 in Wauwatosa, and more than 80 in the city of South Milwaukee.

While the effort is making strides to address the problem of housing insecurity, officials say they know there's still much work to be done.

"It will take decades and decades to build enough housing to meet our need, so this project is certainly a sliver of that," said James Mathy, Milwaukee County housing administrator.

In addition to the suburban investments, the county is also funding the development of more 100 affordable housing units in Milwaukee's King Park neighborhood. This will be the largest housing investment in that neighborhood in generations.

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