“Our goal is to get to 5% vacancy rate, which if we build 1,000 units a year for the next decade, we still won’t get there. So we’ve got a long way to go. It means that every unit counts.”

– Mayor Paul Soglin, City of Madison

The power of the community created new homes on Madison’s north side this weekend. Around 115 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to clean and paint apartments, so homeless families can move into stable housing.

“The city approached us to see if we could partner with our Housing First program and end homelessness for 27 families,” said Martha Cranley, United Way of Dane County Director of Community Impact: Basic Needs. “We brought the Business Volunteer Network to help out. They got volunteers and brought cleaning supplies and painting supplies. [These units will] be ready for families to move into starting in March.”

The Community Development Authority is a key partner, as is Meridian Group, Inc. A longtime partner with United Way, Meridian will manage the property. Families will lease from Meridian, which will build their credit and rental history.

“The other great partners in this work are our Housing First partners: YWCA, The Road Home, Salvation Army and East Madison Community Center. Their case managers will be working with families out here just like they would be in any other part of the city,” said Cranley.

“United Way has done a wonderful job and we’re going to have supportive services here,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “Those services are critical for addressing some of the other challenges because besides housing, we have to deal with transportation. We have to make sure there’s quality childcare, we have to make sure that health needs are attended to and we have to make sure there’s a great environment for learning.”

Thank you to the Business Volunteer Network for harnessing the community’s volunteering power. Please watch the above video of these incredible volunteers in action.

If you would like to get your organization involved in BVN, click here.

There is another cleaning and painting day scheduled for Saturday, March 19. All ages are welcome to participate. If you would like to sign up for a morning and/or afternoon shift, click here.