By Will Martin
Candidate for Wisconsin Lt. Governor
A recently released study documented that average metro Milwaukee rents have risen by 18% from May 2021 to May 2022. The average rent rose from $950 to $1,124 over that period. That’s a rent increase of $174 a month, making it harder for families to afford a place to live and leaving less money for food, clothing, transportation, healthcare, and so much more.
There is a growing housing crisis affecting our families, and the runaway inflation we are living through is deepening that crisis. Without help, too many parents, children, and seniors will become homeless. It does not have to be this way. State government can, and must, do much more to help make housing affordable again for our families.
Our state government has an agency specifically responsible for helping low-to-moderate-income families buy homes. In fact, the state agency provides mortgages, and can even offer families down payment assistance. It also is responsible for helping build more affordable apartments.
I am calling on Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes to implement my Affordable Housing Action Plan:
• Direct the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority, often referred to as WHEDA, to open an Affordable Housing office on Milwaukee’s north side.
• Ensure WHEDA partners with Mayor Johnson and the Common Council to include City of Milwaukee staff in the new Affordable Housing office, so our families have greater access to the services the state and city agencies can provide.
• Urge WHEDA to host and expand home buying workshops and educate families on how they can qualify for mortgages and down payment assistance.
• Partner with Columbia Savings & Loan, Milwaukee’s only Black-owned bank, to process more mortgage applications from graduates of WHEDA’s workshops.
• Use some of WHEDA’s reserve funding now to finance building more affordable apartments in our community.
Our families and seniors need action…now. It is time for leaders to step up, make state government work for our people and community, and solve real problems facing us.
Will Martin is a candidate to become Wisconsin’s next Lt. Governor. In addition to being a small business owner for 20 years and having consulted government agencies internationally, he has served in multiple senior leadership roles for Governors Thompson and Walker.