Madison opened its biggest residential project for the chronically homeless this week, giving them a permanent place to stay with on-site support for mental health, addiction and other issues.
The 60 apartments, located on Madison’s east side, are part of a national movement known as “Housing First.” Tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent, said Michael Goldberg, executive director of Heartland Housing, a nonprofit, anti-poverty organization that developed the Madison project.
“Those rental subsidies will stay with the building. So this building will always remain affordable,” Goldberg said.
The formerly homeless tenants are chosen based on their vulnerability and don’t have to meet requirements like sobriety.
Workers are still putting finishing touches on the building, which includes a library, computer services and wellness center. Some tenants have already moved in because affordable housing is hard to come by in Madison.
Twenty-five of the units are reserved for homeless veterans. Veterans get rental vouchers from the Veterans Administration, as part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to end homelessness among service members.