Vision: Dane County families are economically stable.

Goal: Increase the number of families, particularly families of color, who become economically stable through strategies that integrate family-sustaining jobs, secure housing and food supports.

Why it Matters:

When individuals have jobs earning family-sustaining wages and safe and affordable housing, they are less stressed and more able to provide for themselves and their families.

Currently, 77.4% of Dane County individuals have an income that is 200% above the Federal Poverty Level (2015-2019 U.S. Census 5-year estimates) leaving 22.6% of residents struggling to afford basic necessities such as food, housing and health care. Federal Poverty Level in 2021 = $26,500 for a family of four.

Here’s how we invested in Income in 2021:

The impact on individuals participating in Income programming in 2021:

0 %

were employed at $15+/hour
(456 individuals).

0 %

maintained housing and avoided eviction
(2,051 individuals).

0 %

did not return to prison
(205 individuals).

HIRE initiative: Breaking down barriers, preparing people for employment

Many jobs go unfilled in Dane County because employers cannot find workers with the right qualifications. Similarly, those in need of a job do not have the necessary skillset to be hired in jobs with family-sustaining wages. Especially in light of current talent shortages, we’re working to close that gap!

In 2013, we launched our HIRE Initiative, which is a program that focuses on helping adults train for and find employment. We work with six local partner agencies to connect participants with resources they need to earn a diploma and/or receive industry-specific training. We partner with 41 local employers to place participants in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages with career growth.


Increase the number of individuals who obtain or maintain stable housing through case management and financial assistance.

Increase access to healthy food as a housing strategy to free up funds in family budgets for rent.

Increase the number of individuals who gain family-sustaining employment.

Increase the number of individuals who receive education services to gain family-sustaining employment.

Provide Residency, Employment, Treatment, Education and Support (RESET) for returning citizens (formerly incarcerated individuals).

Housing Help When It’s Needed Most

Affordable housing is central to creating economic stability for local families. In addition to our annual community investment in programs and services to end homelessness, we launched the Affordable Housing Fund in 2018 to address funding gaps, increase the stock of workforce family housing and prioritize housing projects by nonprofit developers. We have secured more than $400,000 in donations to create a sustainable source of funding as loans are repaid. Current projects include:

The Graaskamp, 44 units on East Washington Avenue by Madison Development Corporation, completed in summer 2020.

A joint project by Movin’ Out and Red
Caboose Childcare, with 38 residential
units and a childcare center, at Milwaukee Street and East Washington Avenue,
beginning construction this year.

Two new affordable housing projects are recommended for this year – Uno located on the west side of Madison, and the Klassik to be built in Verona.

Public Policy Priorities

Strengthen access to job training and workforce development programs and supports (including expanded access to childcare, transportation and broadband services) that align to jobs with family supporting wages, benefits and stable work schedules.

Promote equitable, anti-racist labor market practices and work environments that provide opportunities for career advancement for all.

Promote economic stability, decrease income inequality, help individuals and families increase their earning potential and build wealth, with particular focus on addressing the racial wealth gap.

Expand access to affordable housing and address disparities in homeownership rates.
• Prevent eviction and support housing stability.

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Interested in supporting our efforts to help more people find pathways out of poverty?

For more information, please contact

United Way of Dane County Invests in Income Programs at These Agencies

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Madison
Centro Hispano
Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin
Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C)
Habitat for Humanity of Dane County
Literacy Network
Middleton Outreach Ministry
Sankofa Behavioral & Community Health
Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
Stoughton Area Resource Team (START)
Sunshine Place
The Road Home Dane County
The Salvation Army of Dane County
Urban League of Greater Madison
Vera Court Neighborhood Center
YWCA Madison