What drives your commitment to work for affordable housing?
My commitment is driven by my personal experience. Several years ago, my husband died under a bridge in Milwaukee, WI during a freezing December. He wasn’t allowed into the homeless shelter because he was an active alcoholic. On top of that, when the housing bubble burst, my home of 20 years went into foreclosure. Through community efforts led by Occupy, we saved 6 homes belonging to seniors in Jefferson County, including mine.
What is your involvement in housing work in Jefferson County?
I am a housing advocate and, as such, have been a member of the Affordable Housing Action Group; participated in the Homeless Point in Time Count for 5 years; provided transitional rental housing in my 5 BR house for 10 years serving 27 individuals; helped organize 2 seasons of tent villages in PT; and helped create a tiny house model for affordable housing. I plan to serve on the Joint Task Force on Homelessness and Affordable Housing.
If you could ask one thing of your community, what would it be?
Our County and City have declared that we have a Housing Emergency. I would ask that our community place an immediate priority on affordable housing at the city and county level, including: adopt and implement Appendix Q of the IRC re: tiny houses; expedite the housing permitting and approval process and reduce the cost of permitting; lease municipally owned land to non-profit housing efforts and create infrastructure at public expense on such properties; permit interim transitional housing on residential property; establish a facility in which non-profit/ NGO’s may provide 24/7 shelter services for homeless adults; support a youth shelter program. In short, to make affordable housing legal and available.