Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Executive, County Board Members Announce New Cooperative Housing Initiative for Homeless

February 06, 2013
Carrie Springer, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Asks City of Madison to Join County’s Effort


A new way to address the growing needs of the un-housed in Madison was revealed today by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. The announcement of an initiative to create cooperative housing is the latest part of the $1.1 million added to the 2013 county budget to supplement the resources already used by the County to target homelessness.


“Cooperative housing has proven successful in other parts of the country and I am hopeful the city of Madison will join us in this effort to get this initiative the financial resources it needs to be successful so more people can take an important step toward getting off the streets and into more stable living conditions,” said Parisi.


Parisi and Dane County Board Chair John Hendrick sent a letter today to Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and City Council President Shiva Bidar-Sielaff asking the city to join the efforts to provide cooperative housing. (see attached letter) Dane County’s 2013 budget included $1.1 million new county tax dollars to assist those struggling with homelessness and those funds will be tapped to provide grants for cooperative housing.


Dane County Supervisor Carousel Bayrd, author of the budget proposal to fund more Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing in Dane County noted, "The County Board is committed to finding solutions to the affordable housing shortage in Dane County, as we demonstrated in the 2013 budget.  This initiative is exactly what we were working towards, leveraging county funds to team with others to develop permanent solutions to our housing needs. I am excited to sponsor this proposal and foster it through the County Board."   


Numerous advocates for the homeless have tried to get a similar initiative off the ground in the past, but have been unable to secure the financial backing to get it started.  Parisi and Bayrd agreed this cooperative housing project was a good fit for the funding Supervisor Bayrd had established in the 2013 budget to develop affordable, low-income housing in Dane County. Using this funding, the County will make available up to $250,000 to establish a partnership with a private, non-profit or public agency to acquire cooperative housing.



These new resources supplement the $2.2 million Dane County provided to area non-profits in 2013 that help area homeless citizens including Porchlight, the Salvation Army, the United Way and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin.  The $1.1 million included in new funding is intended to be used to acquire and open a day shelter on East Washington Avenue, address the need for SRO housing, help runaway teens at risk for homelessness and provide emergency shelter funding for those in abusive relationships.


Pending approval by the Dane County Board, the Dane County capital budget will be amended to provide the funds for the housing partnership program from the $1.1 million in new county resources including in the 2013 budget.