November 18, 2015

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson
United States Senate
Washington D.C. 20510

Dear Senators Baldwin and Johnson:

As organizations focused on home ownership and building sustainable communities, we are writing today to seek your assistance for two critical programs as new spending levels for Fiscal Year 2016 are negotiated.

First, we urge you to reach out to the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittee staff to ask them to include $185,000,000 in the final FY 2016 allocation for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NWA). This funding is essential to the specific work that our organizations do. In 2014 Wisconsin NeighborWorks® organizations had a total investment in the state of more than $143 million and created or maintained 204 jobs.

We are a statewide coalition of most of the NeighborWorks® America chartered organizations in Wisconsin. Our focus is on building a better Wisconsin through expanding and preserving housing options. Whether it be providing homebuyer education and counseling to a family hoping to buy a home, or taking the worst looking house on the street and renovating it to be the best, members of the Alliance work to improve people’s lives and revive communities. The funding NeighborWorks® America receives allow us as organizations to improve local economies, help stabilize neighborhoods, and most importantly, leverage other sources of funding. In fact, according to 2014 results, we were able to leverage every grant dollar received by NeighborWorks® America 107 to 1.

Second, we urge you to do everything you can to increase funding for the HOME Investment Partnership program (HOME) to at least $1.06 billion, as proposed by the President’s 2016 Budget Request.

As we wrote to you previously, for more than 20 years, HOME has helped build and preserve more than 1.1 million affordable homes and has served as a direct rental assistance to hundreds of thousands of low-income families. Because HOME is designed as a block grant, communities like ours all throughout Wisconsin have the flexibility to address our most pressing housing challenges, ranging from homeownership to rental to rehabilitation in urban, suburban, and rural areas alike.

HOME funding is critical to the work we do here in Wisconsin. In the federal budget for 2015, Wisconsin was allotted $16,964,967 in HOME funds. However, in the initially passed version of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee bill for FY 2016, Wisconsin would receive just $1,263,556. That would mean fewer Wisconsin families buying homes and less renovation of blighted houses in at-risk neighborhoods.

As new spending levels are negotiated for every program as a result of recent Congressional action, we hope you’ll work with the Appropriations Committee members and staff to support our requests for Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and HOME funding.

If you have any questions about funding for Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NWA) or the HOME program, or how these funds have been used to help families in Wisconsin, please feel free to contact any member of the Alliance.

Sincerely,

NeighborWorks® Alliance of Wisconsin Members

Housing Resources, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

Impact Seven
Almena, WI

Neighborhood Housing Services of Southwest Wisconsin
Richland Center, WI

NeighborWorks ® Blackhawk Region
Beloit, WI

NeighborWorks ® Green Bay
Green Bay, WI

Select Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI