The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) announced that the WHEDA Foundation, Inc. is awarding $500,000 in housing grants to 29 special-needs housing providers throughout the state.

These grants, awarded during the WHEDA Foundation’s annual Housing Grant Program competition, help housing providers build new facilities or make improvements to their existing facilities.

“Awarding grants that enable special-needs housing providers to create quality, safe environments for some our most needy residents is extremely gratifying,” said WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston. “This year’s grants, which are creating or improving 542 beds and housing units across Wisconsin, are literally life-saving for individuals confronting crisis situations.”

The winning 2017 grant proposals ranged from a fire protection and suppression system at a new shelter for homeless individuals in New London, remodeling a kitchen to meet ADA standards in a Menomonie housing facility for seniors, replacing worn flooring at a shelter for families in Milwaukee, to replacing a 40-year old boiler system at an apartment building providing supportive in-home services to residents in Chilton.

Providers in Brown, Calumet, Columbia, Dane, Eau Claire, Juneau, Menomonie, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Racine, Rusk, Sauk, Shawano, Taylor, Walworth, Washington, and Waupaca, counties received awards ranging from $2,120 to $25,000.

WHEDA received 58 applications through the housing grant competition this year totaling $1,175,589 in funding requests, an indication of the high demand and need in Wisconsin.

“WHEDA is proud to continue its tradition of more than 30 years of awarding housing grants to nonprofits, local governments and tribal authorities,” said Winston. “I congratulate our outstanding partners for helping us meet the housing needs of low-income and disadvantaged populations.”

The annual Housing Grant Program competition is funded entirely by WHEDA reserves using no state tax dollars. Grants are awarded through WHEDA’s Housing Grant Program Fund to nonprofit agencies, local governments, and tribal authorities in Wisconsin whose mission includes meeting the housing needs of low-income or disadvantaged populations including homeless persons, runaways, youth in out-of-home placement, alcohol or drug dependent persons, persons in need of protective services, domestic abuse victims, persons with developmental disabilities, low-income or frail elderly persons, persons with chronic mental illness, persons with physical disabilities, persons living with HIV disease, and individuals or families who do not have access to traditional or permanent housing.

Since 1985, the WHEDA Foundation has issued 1,087 awards totaling $23,468,000 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.

For 45 years, WHEDA, as an independent state authority, has provided low-cost financing for housing and small business development in Wisconsin. Since 1972, WHEDA has financed more than 84,000 affordable rental units, helped more than 122,000 families purchase a home and made more than 29,000 small business and agricultural loan guarantees.

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Lee Matz