Mayor Paul Soglin’s affordable housing plan is a very welcome and needed addition to the Housing First initiative underway in this community. And while it is first and foremost a response to poverty and income inequity it’s not a stretch to foresee an impact on racial disparities as well.

The plan builds on the work of United Way of Dane County and a coalition of housing advocates in making permanent housing a focus of efforts to fight poverty and homelessness. But while that work has appropriately targeted families, Soglin’s plan expands the reach to chronically homeless singles through construction of new, permanent units and providing support services. It is in many ways a bold plan. But it promises significant results.

The proposal wisely leverages federal affordable housing tax credits and existing city funds, and frankly the 20-million dollar price tag is appropriate to the scope and seriousness of the effort. Homelessness is a big problem deserving a big solution. Soglin’s proposal is part of that solution and we welcome it.