WISCAP Affordable Housing Network

Help Us Spread the Word!

We are in the process of building a contact list of individuals who would like to receive updates on housing issues across the state. Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to any colleagues, elected officials, friends, family members or anyone you think would benefit from this effort. You can also share the link below for folks to sign up for this distribution list.  

Click Here To Join Our Mailing List

Newsletter - Late September 2022

Wisconsin Affordable Housing Action Network Updates

Our last meeting had 120 participants! We can build a network that drives change at the local, state, and eventually national levels. We next meet on Thursday, October 6 from 9a-10a. Meetings are the first Thursday of the month. Here is Zoom Meeting Link: Click Here to Join.  
Here are the links to the Google Doc versions of two documents for the Wisconsin Affordable Housing Action Network: 
1) Draft Guiding Principles 
2) Draft Advocacy Actions 

Please add your comments, thoughts, and concerns to our principals and advocacy actions. We will try to build consensus on our approach as we move to launch at WISCAP’s Poverty Matters Conference in Madison on October 18-19. There is so much work to do as housing, affordable housing is at a crisis point for low and very low-income people. Building solutions needs to be a critical part of our ongoing work.

WISCAP Visioning Sessions on Homelessness and Permanent Affordable Housing

WISCAP in partnership with Wisconsin Coalition Against Homelessness will be conducting multiple listening sessions throughout the state addressing homeless services and the need for affordable housing. We look forward to hearing from individuals experiencing homelessness and service providers on the current systems in place, potential system improvements, and how to address the lack of either permanent or transitional affordable housing options for low and extremely low-income renters. Our first listening session will be in Beloit in coordination with Community Action, Inc of Rock and Walworth Counties. We are looking to have another session in Milwaukee in the next few months, but if your community would like to host a listening session and if you’d like to partner with WISCAP on this effort, please email [email protected].

Please Join Our Upcoming Wisconsin Affordable Housing Action Network Meetings
These meetings take place the first Thursday of each month. To add these to your calendar click here.

Newsletter - September 2022

Building a Wisconsin Affordable Housing Advocacy Network

WISCAP, the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association, is working to establish and affordable housing advocacy network. There are over 187,000 households in WI paying over half their income for rent, https://nlihc.org/gap/state/wi. We are in an ongoing housing crisis. Public funds supporting renters and homeowners in need such as the WI Emergency Rent Assistance (WERA) and WI Help for Homeowners (WHH) have made a tremendous, but in many cases temporary difference. A lack of housing in general and affordable housing specifically is causing a spike in rents that could have brutal consequences as the 18 months of rent assistance ends for many of Wisconsin’s lowest income renters. Meanwhile inflation and interest rate increases have caused a first-time buyer to lose approximately $77,500 in purchasing power since the beginning of the year.

While our specific plans are still being collaboratively formulated, we will operate under the commitment that housing is a human right and that our priorities focus on the lowest income renters and first-time home buyers possible. We will be actively collaborating with local coalitions, while nurturing efforts to build strong coalitions were there seems to be a void.

We are looking to facilitate communication, coordination and advocacy at the local, state and national levels. It will not be easy. A focus on local successes can give us the foundation to impact positive change at the state and national levels, or at least set an agenda for when the change is possible.

Many components are unfolding. At the A Home for Everyone Conference (AHFE) we had advocacy interwoven throughout the event. Groups have met to discuss building policies and plans for more affordable rental housing and home ownership. The Advocacy Group set 3 priority areas for work groups:

  1. Affordable Rental Housing
  2. Affordable First-time Home Buyers
  3. Building a WI Housing Plan/Policies

More information when these groups will meet shall be forthcoming. If you are interested in participating please email [email protected].

WISCAP has received funding from the National Low Income Housing Coalition to jump start this process. Our goal is to build a cross sector network that starts at the local level and builds to state and national issues and impact on permanent affordable housing. We have hired a Milwaukee organizer and are looking to nurture the development of local coalitions in as many sites as possible. Our funding is under the Opportunity Starts at Home (OSAH) campaign. Ultimately, we can support national, state and local initiatives. Our building of accomplishments and power will start at home, or locally. Here is a link to the OSAH agenda, https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/OSAH_Policy-Agenda.pdf. Ultimately our priorities will be defined by needs across Wisconsin communities. If you want to get involved contact us at [email protected]. Working together we can begin to make positive needed change in the incredibly difficult housing situation we are facing.

First Statewide Housing Action Network Meeting - Thur. Sept. 8 - 9am

During our time together, we will chat about the current state of housing in Wisconsin, share trends from around the state and highlight local success stories that can provide us the foundation to impact positive.
Click Here to Join

A Message From Courtney Cooperman Wisconsin's Organizer for the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Regarding the OSAH Campaign

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is dedicated to achieving racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in communities of their choice. NLIHC educates lawmakers and the public about the need for affordable homes, mobilizes members and partners across the country to advocate for federal housing solutions, and shapes public opinion on issues related to affordable housing.

NLIHC advocates for federal housing policy that meets the needs of extremely low-income (ELI) renters—those making at or below 30% of Area Median Income. This focus on ELI renters is grounded in the findings of NLIHC’s research. NLIHC produces an annual report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, that quantifies the shortage of affordable and available housing for low-income renter households. The latest Gap report finds that there are only 36 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide, and that no state has a sufficient supply of affordable and available housing for the lowest-income renters. In Wisconsin, there are only 34 affordable and available homes for every 100 ELI renter households. Housing cost-burdens are also most concentrated among the lowest-income renters: 71 percent of the nation’s 11 million ELI renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on rent and utilities.

Opportunity Starts at Home (OSAH) is an NLIHC-led multisector campaign that convenes stakeholders across multiple issue areas to strengthen the movement for affordable homes. Stable housing lays the foundation for every other national priority: quality health care, food security, educational achievement, economic justice, racial equity, and more. OSAH’s campaign partners elevate the importance of housing affordability in their respective sectors, educate the public and lawmakers about the intersection between housing and other core priorities, and collectively advocate for proven solutions. OSAH’s policy goals are to 1) expand rental assistance for every income-eligible household, 2) expand the stock of housing affordable to households with the lowest incomes, and 3) stabilize households by providing emergency assistance to avert housing instability and homelessness. Visit https://www.opportunityhome.org/ to learn more about OSAH’s mission, campaign partners, and policy priorities.

To learn more about the National Low Income Housing Coalition, you can reach out Courtney Cooperman, housing advocacy organizer at NLIHC, at [email protected].

Help Us Spread the Word!

We are in the process of building a contact list of individuals who would like to receive updates on housing issues across the state. Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to any colleagues, elected officials, friends, family members or anyone you think would benefit from this effort. You can also share the link below for folks to sign up for this distribution list.  

Click Here To Join Our Mailing List

Articles & Resources