City County Homeless Issues Committee met Wednesday to discuss the Madison Affordable Housing Strategy and amendments to the city and county budget to address issues of homelessness.

The Madison Affordable Housing Strategy and City County Homeless Issues Committee are bodies aimed at addressing the low-income individuals who are vulnerable to high levels of housing cost burden and homelessness.

The budget request totaled $859,869, a $90,000 increase from the previously allocated budget.

Matt Wachter, Manager of the Madison Office of Real Estate Services, said the biggest issue for the city is the lack of available housing for residents. His goal is to create more units of affordable housing over the next five years through the Madison Affordable Housing Fund.  

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Wachter said solving city homelessness issues was a slow process but the timeline for the project was appropriate for the long-term issue the city needs to solve.

“We’re just starting to see the fruits of some of those early efforts, the buildings [are] opening,” Wachter said. “It’s about creating a pipeline. It’s not a ‘one building is going to end homelessness’ kind of thing.”

One committee member, Kat Koski, raised concerns about residents having access to transportation for jobs and other activities.

While the power for site selection lied within the contracted housing developers, Wachter said they largely listened to their recommendations and a majority of the housing projects were located close to bus lines.  

The committee ended with a report from Casey Becker, Communications & Homeless Services Manager for Dane County Housing Initiative, and Sarah Lim, Community Development Specialist for the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development. They reported updates to committee actions plans, most notably, updates on the recommended amendments to the city budget.

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Of the 12 non-profit agencies who submitted applications to the 2018 Homeless Services Funding, only three were approved for possible extra funding. Additionally, only a fraction of requested funds was granted to each of the organizations.

The budget amendments will be discussed at the Community Development Block Grant Committee Thursday. If the amendments should pass, they will be taken up by the Joint Finance Committee for a final decision.