As WHEDA has breathed life into Wisconsin communities, to ignore WHEDA’s own conception as an institution in 1972 would be a gross denial of its incredible history. Beginning as WHFA, or the Wisconsin Housing Finance Authority, the state legislature lent WHEDA $250,000 in seed funding. The Authority was tasked with filling the growing void in the bleeding housing market, as the state had little legal power to do so on its own. Rising construction costs, interest rates, and lack of affordable housing called the Authority to begin spreading its thin reach across Wisconsin. As year by year went on, the Authority received numerous praises from political and residential spheres, and its scope began to grow ever larger.
In the coordination of its earliest programs, which focused primarily on lending to single family and multifamily housing developments, WHEDA’s financial status underwent unprecedented growth. By 1979, the Authority visited with the governor, and bestowed a check made out to the state in the amount of $250,000, effectively returning the entirety of the seed loan originally provided. The return of this loan marked WHFA’s dedication to providing what it could to the state of Wisconsin, but also made a statement about the Authority’s financial independence from state affairs. Flexing its $334 million in total assets, the Authority joined the ranks of the minute agencies to actually pay back a seed loan.
Since that time, WHFA has evolved far beyond its original scope of solely advancing affordable housing. The Authority’s expansion into economic development projects, as well as grant funding and investment, has allowed dozens of programs to prosper. To recount them all in 500 words would be impossible, hence the creation of WHEDA Stories.
As of 2003, just over 30 years after the Authority’s conception, WHEDA demonstrated its awesome financial strength and stability, as it now held approximately 2.8 billion dollars in total assets, over 11,000 times the state’s original seed fund. While the Authority takes pride in its ability to repay Wisconsin for its start-up funding, it takes greater pride in being able to serve Wisconsin residents who have dreams for the future. Since 1972, WHEDA has helped provide over 73,000 rental units, 129,600 families purchase homes, and financing for more than 29,000 businesses. WHEDA recognizes that sometimes all it takes is a little financing to meet your dreams. After that, you can make a world of difference.