FSPAs give Couleecap $210,000 to preserve affordable housing

Couleecap used the gift as a down payment on properties in the Washburn neighborhood

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration gave Couleecap Inc. $210,000 to buy properties in the Washburn neighborhood of La Crosse for affordable housing.

Couleecap used the gift for the down payment. Altra Federal Credit Union made a contribution in the form of a below market-rate fixed mortgage. Couleecap says this support allows it to offer a combination of one- and two-bedroom apartments and single family homes at the fair market rate.

“Over the past few years, we have seen too many quality homes and apartment buildings become unavailable and unaffordable for low to moderate income working families in La Crosse,” said Couleecap Executive Director Hetti Brown. “That may have been the fate of these properties. Luckily, our partners at the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and Altra Federal Credit Union care as much about preserving affordable housing as we do.”

The properties are in the 500 block of Mississippi Street and the 900 block of Sixth Street.

According to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, the fair market rent for one and two bedroom apartments is $724 and $930 a month, respectively. Couleecap will charge $650 and $800, which is the fair market rate for La Crosse County in 2022, according to HUD.

“Couleecap’s services align with our Franciscan values of respect and compassion,” said Sister Sue Ernster, FSPA vice president and treasurer. “The organization is all about ‘people helping people’ and making a difference in the lives of people throughout the Coulee Region.”

According to a 2019 analysis, 37% of households citywide reported having one of four housing problems: a cost burden, overcrowding, lack of complete kitchen or plumbing facilities.

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