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WHEDA’s rural affordable workforce housing initiative

The shortage of affordable workforce housing in rural Wisconsin poses far-reaching challenges. Access to safe, affordable shelter is fundamental to the sustainability of our communities because housing provides a foundation for public health, economic well-being and environmental stewardship. If Wisconsin is to thrive, rural communities require effective tools and support to develop affordable workforce housing.

WHEDA’s rural affordable workforce housing initiative represents an effort to address these challenges. The initiative, funded in part through WHEDA’s $16.7 million 2019-20 Dividends for Wisconsin Plan and other reserves, totals $10 million and includes a workforce housing pilot effort in three rural communities as well as supplemental financing tools. 

While the supplemental financing tools tackle technical gaps in existing programs, the rural, affordable workforce housing pilot establishes an adaptive framework to identify needs, evaluate choices and implement solutions. To succeed, the initiative requires the support and participation of many partners.

Pilot community process

Three communities are participating in the rural affordable workforce housing pilot, which involves three phases: research and community engagement; idea generation; and implementation. Each phase is anticipated to take two months for a total timeline of six months in each of the communities. The process will be staggered among the communities, with completion including implementation and measurement for all communities by the fall of 2022.

Join us in the effort!

Through the application process, the pilot communities identified team members from local business, government, nonprofit, economic development, academic, real estate development and other organizations to help lead the process. In addition to these team members, local residents, regional stakeholders, members of the news media and others will play a vital role as the community pilots seek to identify barriers, research solutions and communicate opportunities.

Information about public engagement opportunities will be shared as the pilot process gets underway. Sign up to receive notifications about these opportunities here and select the rural affordable workforce housing list. Follow WHEDA on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for additional information.

Find supplemental financing opportunities here:

Press Releases

Read project news releases

Watch our Webinars

Download the slides (.pdf)

Download the slides (.pdf)


Read the plan

The application process

Pilot community applications were due Aug. 31, 2020. Read more about the process through these links.

Contact information:

Frequently Asked Questions

Next Steps

For media inquiries or to request more information, contact:
Jennifer Sereno
WHEDA public affairs