Governor Tony Evers announced on December 21 that 41 organizations from Ashland to Janesville to Eau Claire to Milwaukee, will share some $1 million in grants from the WHEDA Foundation, as they work to provide emergency shelter, transitional residences, and extremely low-income housing.

Administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the WHEDA Foundation grants improve housing for community members, including individuals with disabilities, survivors of domestic abuse, individuals with chronic mental illness, those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income, and youth experiencing homelessness.

“Throughout Wisconsin, providers of emergency and transitional housing are working harder than ever to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and connected with healthcare and community services that support stability and help Wisconsinites thrive,” Governor Evers said. “The WHEDA Foundation grants play an essential role in creating and improving these residences for community members.”

WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro said this year’s award of $1,040,000 in grants will create or improve 845 beds and housing units across the state. The investments at the community level also support economic recovery by creating valued construction jobs.

“By working with nonprofit and other local partners, the WHEDA Foundation leverages their expertise and builds capacity throughout Wisconsin,” Altoro said. “This marks the 36th year the WHEDA Foundation has provided financial support through the housing grant program. This year’s grants will expand the supply of safe, affordable housing for people with special needs as well as for individuals and families negatively impacted by the pandemic.”

The winning 2020 grant proposals include the purchase of a new building to serve as a new shelter in Beaver Dam, a new security system at a shelter in Merrill, a new roof at a multifamily housing property in Chilton, rehabbing vacant manufactured homes to provide housing for low-income families in Janesville and upgrading five shelter bathrooms to meet American with Disabilities Act standards in La Crosse.

Providers in Ashland, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Dane, Dodge, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, La Crosse, Lincoln, Marinette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Polk, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Waukesha, Winnebago and Wood counties received awards ranging from $2,142 to $40,000.

WHEDA received 65 applications through the housing grant competition this year totaling $2,013,456 in funding requests, an indication of the high demand and need in Wisconsin.

The annual Housing Grant Program competition is funded entirely by WHEDA reserves and uses no state tax dollars. Organizations receiving the grants include nonprofit agencies, local governments and tribal authorities serving low-income or disadvantaged populations including homeless people, runaways, youth in out-of-home placement, people with alcohol or drug dependencies, people in need of protective services, frail elderly residents and people living with HIV disease, among others.

Since 1985, the WHEDA Foundation has issued 1,198 awards totaling $25,968,000 to housing providers across the state. Established by WHEDA in 1983, the foundation is responsible for receiving and administering housing grant funds on behalf of WHEDA. Grants are awarded in one of two categories: emergency/transitional housing or permanent housing.