Milwaukee County Affordable Housing Program Targets Suburbs

The growth of jobs in the Milwaukee suburbs is outpacing the housing supply.

1 minute read

December 21, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of large homes surrounded by mature trees with Lake MIchigan shoreline at left.

The vast majority of residential neighborhoods in the Milwaukee metro area are currently zoned for single-family homes. | James / Adobe Stock

A Milwaukee County affordable housing program is helping to fund new housing developments, writes Jonmaesha Beltran in Wisconsin Watch. According to Beltran, “Most job growth is happening in the suburbs, while affordable housing is largely concentrated in the city of Milwaukee’s historically disinvested neighborhoods, especially in Black and brown-majority communities.”

To remedy the mismatch, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley launched a push to support affordable and workforce housing production in the county. “Crowley and his colleagues since 2022 have allocated more than $15 million to boost affordable housing in the suburbs — aiming to reduce barriers that prevent residents from living near work and seeking broader opportunities.”

The article points out that almost all of the county-funded projects have required a zoning change, signaling a need for broader updates to local zoning codes or state-level mandates to accommodate more diverse and affordable housing types. “The League of Wisconsin Municipalities, which advocates on behalf of Wisconsin’s local governments, launched a “cookbook” in 2022 that suggested local zoning changes that could cut construction costs and add options for low-income and moderate-income families through denser development.”

Monday, December 18, 2023 in Wisconsin Watch

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