CPF Proposal #3: WayForward Resources Housing Stability Program

St. Dunstan’s Community Project Fund: Housing Grants

In early 2024, St. Dunstan’s will be giving away $70,000 in grants to help address the housing crisis in Dane County and beyond. These funds were set aside to serve those outside our parish, during our capital campaign for a major renovation in 2018-2019. Read more about this process in last week’s special Enews mailing about it.

We have received four grant applications for these funds, and we’ll be sharing about the projects and organizations over the weeks ahead. In mid-January we will begin a parish feedback project where members and friends of St. Dunstan’s can share their thoughts about where you would most like to see our funding go. Please read, reflect, and take notes! (And if you haven’t taken a good look already, look back at our first two applications, from the Ho-Chunk Community Housing Authority and Own It! Building Black Wealth!)

Third Application: Housing Stability in Middleton & Beyond

Organization: WayForward Resources (formerly MOM)

Project title: Housing Stability Program

WayForward Resources’ mission is to bring our community together to create food and housing security through action and advocacy. Our vision is a community where everyone has the stability to thrive. WayForward Resources has more than 40 years of experience in creating food and housing security through action and advocacy. We help over 6,500 people annually access food and remain in housing. 60% of the households we serve are families with children. The community using our services is diverse: 29% Black, 27% white, 23% Latinx, 8% multi-race, and 14% other or unreported.

WayForward Resources (formerly Middleton Outreach Ministry) was established in 1980 by members of local  churches, including St. Dunstan’s. St. Dunstan’s continues to support WayForward on a regular basis, and many members are active volunteers.

At WayForward Resources, leadership and staff acknowledge the ongoing structural disparities caused by racism in our country and community. Structural racism creates barriers to well-being and progress, experiences of racial trauma, and decreased access to food and housing. This is intensified for people who are English language learners. We work to reduce harm and enact change by fulfilling an immediate need for food and housing, including voices of lived experience, and advocating for racial equity in these areas. We envision a strong community where race-based barriers to opportunity do not exist, and race no longer predicts someone’s stability.

Read a recent guest column by WayForward Resources Executive Director Ellen Carlson about the increased demand on food pantries.

The Need 

(Text from WayForward Resource’s application) 

Families and individuals are challenged to find housing they can afford, maintain that housing and meet food and other basic needs, in turn increasing the challenges for WayForward and other nonprofits to keep up with the demand. In the last year, WayForward provided 603 households in West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains with an average of $650 for rent, utilities, and transportation assistance to stay in their homes and out of the shelter system. Those households include almost 1,000 children.

The cost of housing locally continues to rise at record levels. A recent national study found that rent prices in Madison jumped 30% since March 2020 – the fastest-rising rent of any major city in the United States. 44% of renters in Dane County pay more than 30% of their monthly income in rent.

Now more than ever, WayForward programs are what allow people in our community to stay in their homes. Nearly all households WayForward serves are below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

The Program 

Our Housing Stability Program is one of the few homelessness prevention programs in the area, filling a gap in services for families and individuals currently in housing who are at risk of eviction. WayForward offers rent assistance and case management before families and individuals become homeless, helping them avoid the trauma and well-documented negative outcomes associated with homelessness, especially for children.

(Note that WayForward Resources also runs the Connections housing program, which focuses on families who are experiencing “doubled-up” homelessness.) 

The expiration this year of federal food and housing assistance programs has directly impacted the numbers we see using our services every day including those people in our community who must devote large portions of their monthly income to rent. We project a 10% increase in the number of households receiving direct housing assistance this year.

Your support will help sustain and expand our housing stability efforts, continuing to provide an average of $650 per household with the option to increase the amount given to more families as needed as they work with our case managers to develop a long-term housing plan.

Grant Request: $35,000

$35,000 will provide case management and housing assistance for about 30 families. This estimate includes both case management costs and direct financial support to households.

Read more about WayForward’s impact here!