WHEDA launches $275M loan program for workforce housing, sets April 30 deadline

With the literal push of a button on March 28, Wisconsin officials opened the next round of applications for new workforce housing subsidy programs that have a total of nearly $475 million to award.

“We would love to talk to you about your project, understand what the advantages are, what questions you have and what barriers you might be facing,” said Jon Searles, a community and economic development officer for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Searles extended that invite during a digital meeting with more than 150 developers, real estate consultants and other housing stakeholders. That event marked the start time for applications to three state-funded programs. The newest program has $275 million to pay for infrastructure to serve new homes. The other two each have $100 million for other types of development that create more affordable rental or purchase options.

The money for those programs comes from $525 million in new housing subsidy funds Wisconsin elected officials approved last year. WHEDA set an April 30 deadline for three programs that received the lion’s share of that funding, and opened the application period.

That’s a substantial pool of money for a housing development industry that is often forced to combine private loans with federal and state tax credits, local property tax subsidies and other public subsidies to build any type of rental or for-sale housing that is more affordable than the luxury end of the market.

Another round of applications and awards will be held later this year, said WHEDA CEO and executive director Elmer Moore Jr. He held up a large, ceremonial button for Searles to press during the March 28 webinar to kick off the latest round of funding.

Read more at the Milwaukee Business Journal.

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