Coronavirus pandemic response could bring more development of badly need affordable apartments in Wisconsin

Originally published on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The supply of affordable apartments nationwide, including in Wisconsin, has long fallen well short of demand from lower-income renters.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing the unemployment rate to spike, there’s a huge concern that even more people could be at risk of homelessness.

But affordable housing developers and groups that support lower-income renters say this also creates an opening for Congress and President Donald Trump to greatly increase federal spending for affordable apartments.

“We need a reset,” said Dr. Megan Sandel, who does research on the links between affordable housing and health.

“We need to bring huge additional resources to housing,” said Sandel, an associate professor at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

That might happen in an upcoming round of additional federal economic stimulus funding. And that could increase the construction of affordable apartments in Wisconsin.