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Thrive Economic Development (ThriveED) has launched the Heartland Housing Initiative, a program that will bring hands-on housing development assistance to municipalities in Dodge and Jefferson counties.
Funded by WEDC, Jefferson County, Dodge County and the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, the program provides eligible communities with development-focused consulting services. Both counties completed comprehensive housing studies in 2021, and those studies pointed to a lack of housing and living options in every municipality studied.
“Meeting current and future housing needs is an increasingly greater challenge for municipalities,” notes Vicki Pratt, ThriveED president. “If your community isn’t growing, it’s dying. Having a sufficient supply of a range of housing options to attract folks who already live or work in your community is vital. Developing a plan to build a range of living options is the necessary step to retaining your population base and to attracting new residents. The economic vitality of a community is dependent upon population growth as well as other key factors, such as rising household income levels over time. The Heartland Housing Initiative was designed to help communities address housing and living needs.”
ThriveED has contracted with Cedar Corporation to provide consultative housing development services. A Wisconsin-based group, Cedar Corp. is a leader in this type of work. The services offered under this program will be customized for each community and are intended to lead to developing a strategy to add living units that are a fit for that community. Examples include such efforts as working to identify key parcels for developments, performing site feasibility studies to ensure that parcels can support housing, and packaging identified parcels to attract developers.
Municipalities interested in accessing these services can visit thriveed.org/housing and fill out a simple application. Funding is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.