Can we innovate affordable housing?

For some time, rent in Eau Claire has been on the rise, while wages have been relatively steady. The City Council has been looking for new ideas to help create and provide more affordable housing opportunities for low and middle income earners in Eau Claire.

Affordable housing absolutely needs to be a priority of the City Council seated in 2019, and I would make it a priority to work with the council as well as private companies to determine how creating affordable housing might be created. Although there’s not one simple or immediate answer, three ideas come to mind as ways we might get started.

Rezoning for Rehabilitation

One successful methodology for creating affordable housing is through rezoning. City Council can work with private business to identify and rezone buildings that could be easily reconditioned into affordable apartments. These could include warehouse spaces or other vacant commercial properties that could be reconditioned into affordable living spaces.

Working with Specialists

Another such idea might come from working with the experts. Organizations like Impact Seven exist to help develop sustainable, affording housing projects in areas that need it most. Connecting with a non-profit whose mission is to foster affordable housing might be an ideal step in learning where to begin and what opportunities exist.


One of the biggest things we can do as a community is to continue encouraging entrepreneurs to explore potential innovations to creatively solve problems in our city. Not only that, but new business growth has the potential to increase wages locally, combating the issue on multiple fronts: both by increasing supply of available housing units, but also boosting wages to get more families over the cost-of-living mark for living in Eau Claire.

Let me know what you think!

I’m always interested to hear your opinion. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have others that you think would help people find affordable housing? Let me know in the comments below!