More than 250 people representing housing-focused organizations both locally and across the State of Wisconsin will converge July 13-14 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton, to discuss issues and concerns, as well as positive programs and outcomes related to affordable housing in Wisconsin communities as part of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Affordable Housing state conference entitled, “A Home for Everyone: Housing Creates Community.”
Sponsored and supported by a number of major sponsors, including the Appleton Housing Authority (AHA), the top priority of this year’s conference agenda is the critical need for affordable housing as a major key to ending homelessness and poverty statewide, along with the ongoing importance of fair housing and the continued relevance of the Fair Housing Act, which was first established in 1968.
Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna will welcome attendees, noting that this is the third time in the conference’s 20-year history for affordable housing advances in the Fox Cities to be highlighted.
The conference comes to our community at a significant time, according to Debra Dillenberg, AHA executive director and a member of the collaborative. “It’s a working forum for our local housing organizations, community leaders and shelters to join forces with other housing experts across the state in finding ways to address the ongoing basic need that all people have for clean, decent and affordable housing, especially for those who are trying to make ends meet on low and fixed incomes,” Dillenberg, said.
Kathy Kamp, executive director for the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, and chairperson of the Home Conference agrees, noting that this year’s conference has been designed to provide opportunities to discuss timely and important issues in affordable housing; to learn about creative projects that bring clean and safe affordable and accessible housing to Wisconsin families; and to share program challenges and successes with housing providers, financiers, advocates, developers, government officials and others.
A bus tour will highlight local affordable housing sites such as the AHA’s School Youth Build home, constructed by local high school students; Habitat for Humanity’s “Rock the Block” home revitalization initiative; Eagle Flats Development; Union Square; Riverwalk Place senior living apartments; and many other area affordable living sites as a special part of the conference. “The bus tour is designed to help demonstrate the successes of local partnerships and collaborations in the creation of affordable housing around the area, shining the spotlight on what has worked locally in the state,” Dillenberg said.
Additionally, a full schedule of breakout sessions on housing needs, trends and best practices has been planned to bring government policy makers, housing organizations and shelter directors together to brainstorm and discuss new ideas for affordable housing solutions for all who call Wisconsin home. A panel of keynote speakers representing housing and community organizations in the state will also be featured, with topics to include “What’s Going on in Working Wisconsin,” “The Wisconsin Anti-Poverty Model,” and “From Plessy to Ferguson: Why Fair Housing Matters Now.”
Longtime affordable housing champion Charles Hill will address conference attendees and present his namesake Charles M. Hill, Sr. Award recognizing exemplary leadership in affordable housing to Grace Jones, executive director of the La Crosse-based Couleecap agency. Jones is being honored for 30-years of work in fighting poverty and promoting self-sufficiency for people in the Coulee region.
Hill will also honor Grace Kubeny, a fourth grader from Janssen Elementary School in Kimberly, presenting her with a recognition award signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for her winning logo design, depicting how “Housing Creates Community” as part of this year’s conference theme.
Wisconsin Collaborative Awards spotlighting the success of several Fox Cities and Green Bay area collaborative affordable housing projects to be presented include:
- Project Rush, a multi-agency collaborative project focused on understanding the root causes of homelessness in the Fox Cities.
- Green Bay Veteran’s Manor, a collaborative project by Cardinal Capital and Center for Veteran’s Issues that provide new opportunities and supportive services for veterans in the Green Bay area.
The 2016 Individual Fair Housing Award honoring exemplary work and contributions in fair housing will be presented to Linette Rhodes, a grant administrator with the Community Development Division of the City of Madison Department of Planning and Development.
Capturing this year’s Organization Fair Housing Award, recognizing groups that have made conspicuous and effective progress toward eliminating barriers and furthering fair housing, is Accessible Space, Inc., a nationwide, non-profit housing service provider for adults with physical disabilities as well as seniors, headquartered in St. Paul, MN.
In addition to the AHA, other major conference sponsors include: Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin; U.S. Bank; ACC Management Group, Inc.; Cinnaire; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Gorman & Company, Inc.; Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc.; Impact Seven; Reinhart Boerner van Deusen, S.C.; The Commonwealth Companies; Wisconsin Department of Administration-Division of Energy; Housing and Community Resources; Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority and Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation.
Additional conference supporters include: Cardinal Capital Management; Clear Gains: Wisconsin’s Smoke Free Housing Initiative; Common Wealth Development, Inc.; Dimension Development, LLC; Enterprise Community Partners; Forward Community Investments;
HAI Group; Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF); Horizon Develop Build Manage; Love Funding; Movin’ Out, Inc.; MSP Real Estate, Inc.; NeighborWorks Alliance of Wisconsin; Oshkosh/Winnebago County Housing Authority; Redevelopment Resources; Wegner CPAs; Wisconsin Association of Housing Authorities; Wisconsin Partnership For Housing Development; Wisconsin Realtors Association; and Baker Tilly.
About the Wisconsin Collaborative for Affordable Housing:
The Wisconsin Collaborative for Affordable Housing consists of community-based organizations, private concerns, and governmental agencies and advocates and promotes the development and preservation of affordable housing throughout Wisconsin. The mission of the Collaborative is to promote access to decent, safe and affordable housing for economically disadvantaged households in Wisconsin through the preservation and development of housing and housing services by promoting effective collaboration between public, private and community organizations. The Collaborative organizes the annual “A Home for Everyone” Conference for the purpose of focusing on these issues for low-income families and individuals.