(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee is backing a resolution to support ThriveED’s application for a grant to help spur affordable housing development. Deb Reinbold with ThriveED, which is a non-profit organization that supports local businesses throughout Dodge and Jefferson Counties, says the grant is through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Rural Initiatives Program. She says the $150-thousand-dollar project would bring a group of consultants to both Dodge and Jefferson Counties to help with the problem of affordable housing.
Services would include, among other things, performing feasibility studies to determine if a location can support housing and help municipalities review housing development proposals. Reinbold says this is a pilot program ThriveED proposed to the WEDC and if it is successful here, it will be replicated throughout the state. She says the grant offered is one-to-one with the WEDC covering $75-thousand-dollars of the total costs. The Watertown Community Health Foundation has committed up to $40-thousand-dollars. Dodge and Jefferson Counties would have to pay $17,500 each.
Both counties recently completed a housing study that revealed most communities have a lack of living options with costs aligned to the wages of its residents. An issue that is compounded with the rising costs in building materials, labor, and the lower market rates in rural areas.
Reinbold says the grant application should be ready to be submitted by the end of the month and if the WEDC denies funding the project, no funds from the county would be allocated. The resolution backing the grant application will go before the full county board at their October 19th meeting.