The village of Shorewood is investing $2.5 million to increase affordable housing in its neighborhoods.
On Monday evening, the village Board of Trustees voted to extend the life of an existing tax incremental financing district to create the fund to support affordable housing.
Wisconsin communities can opt to extend a TIF district by one year in order to use the final year’s increment to benefit affordable housing. It is one of three types of extensions available to municipalities.
The affordable-housing extension was added to TIF law in 2009, but relatively few communities in the state have taken advantage of it so far, according to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. Others who have used the extension include Milwaukee, Madison and La Crosse, among others.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley praised Shorewood’s decision.
“Milwaukee County’s vision is that by achieving racial equity we will be the healthiest county in Wisconsin,” Crowley said in a statement. “We can’t realize that vision alone, it’s going to take all us of working together doing what we can to secure victories in equity, and in turn, secure victories for all us.”
The village is collaborating with the county and its Office on African American Affairs to “help advance our shared vision,” Crowley said.
Crowley’s office stated in a news release that increasing the availability of high-quality, deed-restricted affordable housing is key in combating segregation of neighborhoods and reducing the impacts on rent-burdened families.
The release notes that metro Milwaukee has been ranked among the most segregated communities in the country. Crowley’s office said that historically racist systems and policies undermined wealth, living opportunity and quality of life for residents of color.
According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, over 50 percent of Milwaukee County households are rent-burdened, and Black households are burdened at twice the rate of white households.
“We are excited to work with Shorewood and all Milwaukee County municipalities to provide support and tools to help advance policies that eliminate barriers to inclusion,” Jeff Roman, director of the Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs, said in a statement. “Providing residents and families access to affordable housing options across the county’s footprint is a key way to make sure all residents can live and thrive where they choose to.”