County board unanimously approves suburban affordable housing funds

County will buy housing units in suburbs
County board unanimously approves suburban affordable housing funds

The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to provide $350,000 to the county’s housing authority to purchase housing units in several communities to provide affordable housing.

The county plans to buy 56 housing units in Verona, Stoughton and DeForest that are currently subject to USDA Rural Development income restrictions. The owners of the properties have said they are interested in selling them at market rate.

County board chair Sharon Corrigan said the county is trying to keep up with growth that would otherwise leave low-income residents behind.

“These units are affordable now and they’re in the community, but they were on the market and the fear was that if they sold to somebody else, they could be redeveloped into something else,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan said the county needs to add more than 1,000 affordable housing units to help address homelessness and affordability for lower-income residents.

“As communities grow, then housing becomes more expensive because there’s more demand for it, and if you risk losing those low cost housing units, it could be redeveloped into something more expensive,” she said. “We’ve got to stem the tide of homelessness in this county, and this is an important step to making sure people don’t become homeless.”