MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted to take significant action to address the opioid epidemic and the affordable housing crisis. In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors appropriated over $11M for projects focused on treatment, abatement, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic in Milwaukee County. The County Board also voted unanimously to execute four contracts for affordable housing development projects in Milwaukee County suburbs using over $9M in federal American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) funds.
“Milwaukee County is doing all we can to address acute community needs like affordable housing and fatal drug overdoses. I applaud the partnership of the County Board and their commitment to allocating resources to support acute community needs,” said County Executive David Crowley. “I’m thrilled to see the momentum we generated last year is carrying over into 2023 with key investments in equity. As we adjust to a reality where the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic manifests in housing insecurity, fatal overdoses, and community violence, these investments on the public safety continuum are critical to meeting the needs of County residents.”
In its first meeting of the year, the County Board approved allocating the $11 million in settlement funds to support 15 projects over the next three fiscal years – including harm reduction supplies, education and treatment for justice involved youth, and opioid prevention projects. Milwaukee County has among the highest rates of overdose deaths in Wisconsin, and in the last two years the county has seen record numbers of emergency calls related to overdoses.
The Board also voted to execute contracts for Jewish Family Services, Inc., MSP Real Estate Inc., Crawford & Jeffers Co., and Cornerstone Village to develop affordable projects located in Milwaukee County suburbs. Current data indicates that there are about 70,000 families in Milwaukee County that earn $15/hour or less, but only about 30,000 rental homes available to them. Consequently, there is a shortage of 40,000 units of available housing at $650/month or less. The development projects will produce 62 rental units available at a price point at or below $650 a month. The Board’s action invests resources targeted toward the expansion of affordable housing opportunities throughout municipalities within Milwaukee County