The Housing Authority of the City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was created by the Sheboygan Common Council in 1967 under provisions of Wisconsin law. Under Wisconsin law, a housing authority may engage in a number of activities to create or improve housing within a community. The Sheboygan Housing Authority has been primarily involved as a developer/owner/manager of apartments for people of low and moderate income.
The Authority staff consists of ten employees — 8 full-time and 2 part-time. Full time staff includes the Executive Director, Housing Coordinator, an Occupancy Specialist, a custodian for the Wasserman Apartments and Niagara Avenue Apartments, a custodian for Tamarack House and a custodian for Georgia Avenue Apartments, Rochester Springs and Park Plaza. One additional custodian is employed as needed.
Housing Assistance Programs
The Authority also manages an elderly housing project, Rochester Springs, under a contract with the Sheboygan Falls Housing Authority. This project was financed by WHEDA and receives HUD subsidy under the Section 8 New Construction Program. Under the Section 8 program, HUD sets a monthly rent for each apartment. Because tenant rents are based on ability to pay, HUD pays the difference between the HUD rent and what the tenant pays. This development is a $1,100,000 project financed by WHEDA under the same HUD program as Park Plaza. Federal assistance is about $95,000 annually. The building is 48 one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom apartment for the custodian. It was also built in 1977-1978.
HUD also provides assistance to the Authority to operate a Section 8 Housing Voucher Program. Under this program, the Authority contracts with a private apartment owner to pay a portion of the rent normally paid by tenants. The Authority determines the amount to be paid by the tenant based on 30% of their monthly income. The difference between the tenant payment and the rent allowed under a federal payment standard is paid by the Authority to the owner. Presently the Authority is authorized to contract for 186 apartments with a monthly Federal subsidy of $44,473.
Persons wanting to rent a Housing Authority apartment are placed on a waiting list and provided an apartment on a first-come first-served basis. For the elderly apartments, a person must be age 55 or over, but are eligible if they are under 55 and receiving Social Security disability benefits. Income limits for applicants are set each year by HUD.
Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners, which is the governing board of the Housing Authority, has five members which are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. Commissioners are appointed for a five year term and, by state law, serve without pay. The terms of the commissioners are staggered so that one commissioner is appointed each year.
The Authority is a semi-autonomous agency. It is not included in the City budget and receives no tax support from the City. The annual budget of the Authority is not reviewed or approved by the City. The staff of the Authority is employed by the Authority and they are not City employees. By Wisconsin law, the Authority must have approval of the City Plan Commission and the Common Council before proceeding with a new housing development. Wisconsin law provides for the Authority to use the legal services of the City Attorney. At the present time the Authority purchases some services from the City which include worker’s compensation insurance and some maintenance supplies.
The various projects of the Authority are exempt from City real estate taxes. Under a Cooperative Agreement between the City, the Authority, and the federal government, the Authority makes a payment in lieu of taxes to the City each year based on the amount of rent collected from Housing Authority tenants.
Housing Authority Properties
The first project of the Authority was built in 1969-1970 under the low-income public housing program of the U. S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Known as Project WIS 47-1, this development includes the Eugene Wasserman Apartments, 611 North Water Street, Sheboygan, and Tamarack House, 2201 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan. Each building includes 104 one-bedroom apartments for elderly people plus a 2-bedroom apartment for a custodian who lives in the building. The Housing Authority issued $3,027,000 of bonds for the construction of the project. Under an Annual Contributions Contract between the Authority and HUD, the federal government pays the principal and interest on these bonds amounting to $185,000 per year for the 40 year term of the bonds.
The second project was built in 1977-1978 under the Section 8 New Construction Program of HUD and was financed through a mortgage from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for $1,900,000. It includes 80 one-bedroom apartments for elderly people and a two-bedroom apartment for a custodian. In July of 1997, the mortgage on Park Plaza was paid and the HUD assistance contract canceled. The only source of income for operating Park Plaza is tenant rents.
The most recent project of the Authority was built in 1981-1982 under the low-income public housing program. Known as project WIS 47-2 it was financed in a manner similar to WIS 47-1 for $1,300,000 with the HUD subsidy amounting to $85,000 per year. The project consists of 6 two-bedroom apartments at 919 Niagara Avenue, Sheboygan, and two 12-unit buildings at 2640-2706 Georgia Avenue, Sheboygan. Each 12- unit building has 2 three-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments. The Niagara Avenue building is occupied by developmentally disabled people under an agreement with the Sheboygan County Department of Human Services.