Celebrating Our 25th Year!

WI-CARH Winter 2024


Message from Russell Kaney WI-CARH President

2024: Looking Forward

2023 was an interesting year, serving up its share of challenges. The lingering effects of COVID-related issues were evident, namely supply chain disruptions, high interest rates, inflation, and increased prices (think wages, insurance, and more).  I can’t say I will get nostalgic for the past year. Personally, I tend to look forward. Yes, learn from the past but address our new challenges head on.

2024 will be a signature year for WI-CARH. Your organization celebrates its’ 25th anniversary this year. Several members and advocates, including myself, were present at our very first conference held in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1998. Enough interest and enthusiasm were shown at that gathering to initiate the formal paperwork and structure for what is now WI-CARH. The organization has seen members and supporters come and go through retirements, career changes, and property exits. But the core fundamentals of WI-CARH have been retained. We are educating, advocating, and collaborating with Wisconsin housing partners for rural housing every year.  Our members and supporters have helped complete this mission and more. Your organization is recognized as one of the top state-affiliated chapters in the country. Late last year, the Council for Affordable & Rural Housing (CARH), based in Washington, D.C. requested a nomination from WI-CARH for recognition. It gave Diane Hamm, our Executive Assistant, and me the opportunity to dig into our history. The following is part of what was presented:

In 1998, a rural conference was held in Madison, Wisconsin with a wide group of developers, real estate managers, and funders that included representatives from Rural Development-USDA. The catalyst for this gathering was the need for better rural representation in the state of Wisconsin with Rural Development, HUD, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the state housing finance authority. The conference was organized and promoted by Mr. Jim Poehlman, owner of T&C Management. Jim was a property owner, property manager and had an engineering firm, all based in Madison, Wisconsin. Jim had been involved with the National Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) in the early 1980s and had wanted to establish a Wisconsin association. The conference was very successful and, in a meeting, soon after, it was decided that there was high interest from conference attendees and others, to establish a statewide association. Thus, was born WI-CARH.


Established in 1999, WI-CARH has sponsored a rural housing conference every fall for twenty-four consecutive years. In the early years, Jim Poehlman, and his wife Anita along with office assistant Pat Guerro, organized the conferences, the agenda, lined up speakers, and handled all the administrative functions of the organization. In the summer of 2004, Jim died suddenly of a heart attack and the organization quickly reorganized to carry on the mission and mandate that Jim had started. Since those early days, our organization has employed five Executive Assistants, helping the Board continue the work of WI-CARH.


WI-CARH membership is made up of for-profit developers, management companies, not-for-profit entities, housing authorities, and industry advocates (syndicators, lenders, consultants, CPAs), all with a common tie to rural housing, particularly the multi-family housing portfolio financed by RD-USDA.


Look for more pieces about our history in future newsletters. Well, that is how we started but we have plenty of work yet to do. The need for affordable housing, particularly in rural Wisconsin, is ongoing. Thank you for your part in enriching the lives of families and seniors in Wisconsin through affordable housing.

One final note, I was saddened by the passing of former Senator Herb Kohl late last year. He was 88. He was a United States Senator for 24 years, leaving office on his own terms in 2013. He was chair of the Senate Aging Committee, served on Appropriations (subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development), Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. He always put Wisconsin and its residents first. He was a wealthy man (former Milwaukee Bucks owner, Kohl Center philanthropy) but always championed the programs that would assist the average Wisconsinite. I met Senator Kohl several years ago in his office in Washington, DC to talk about, what else, housing. He was curious, energetic and knew the Federal funding programs well. It was a great visit and one I will always remember. On May 13, 2011, Kohl announced he would not run for re-election in 2012 stating: “The office doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the people of Wisconsin and there is something to be said for not staying in office too long.” A life well lived.

Russell D. Kaney

President, WI-CARH

WI-CARH Recognized as State Affiliated Association of the Year by the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing

The State Affiliated Association of the Year Award recognizes and encourages excellence in the programs, services, and management of CARH’s seventeen state-affiliated associations. Each year, all state-affiliated associations in good standing are eligible to apply for the award. CARH’s Awards Committee (with input from CARH national office staff) selects a recipient. The State Affiliated Association of the Year Award is presented each January at a special ceremony at CARH’s Mid-Year Meeting. A plaque recognizing all recipients also hangs in the CARH national headquarters office.


WI-CARH previously won this award in 2011. WI-CARH is honored to have been selected for this award as we enter our 25th year of activities. Rob Dicke, Vice President of WI-CARH (Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp.), and Russ Endres, Secretary of WI-CARH (Wisconsin Management Company) will represent WI-CARH at the Mid-Year CARH conference in Charleston, South Carolina on January 30thCongratulations to WI-CARH! 

WI-CARH's 24th Annual Conference was a Success

The Wilderness Resort and Conference Center was the venue for the 24th Annual WI-CARH Conference held on November 8 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. 

The conference began with registration and a full breakfast for attendees. Exhibitors were already in place to meet and greet participants. After welcoming remarks from WI-CARH President Russell Kaney, we were welcomed by Julie Lassa, State Director of Rural Development. 

Gary Kirkman, from US Housing Consultants, was our keynote speaker, and his topic was HOTMA Eligibility Essentials. HOTMA is generating quite a buzz in the housing industry due to the massive regulatory changes impacting household eligibility. Gary's high-level summary was HOTMA changes impacting HUD, LIHTC, RD, and HOME. Gary covered crucial changes in determining annual income, asset-related updates, and adjusted income calculation changes.

During our first break, our exhibitors had the opportunity to introduce themselves and briefly explain their products and/or services. This allowed conferees to prioritize their visits and discussions.

Jeff Simpson and Paul Falk from Tribal 1 did a session on Affordable and Rural Development Assessments and Inspections. Paul and Jeff discussed the need for inspections/assessments, the process for conducting those inspections, how the information is used, and how to prepare for inspections.

Just before lunch, an insightful presentation was conducted by Lindsay Gant, Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp., and Leah Gubin, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. They discussed Service Coordination in Rural Housing. The session explained what a service coordinator is and what service provisions look like for rural housing. They did an overview of funding sources and program expense details and how a service coordinator could help alleviate common resident challenges.

Immediately following lunch, the general membership meeting was held with Donna Braun, Rebecca Giroux, and Duane Tinsley re-elected to the Board of Directors. The WI-CARH awards were presented by Board members Donna Braun and Denise Loveland (see more below). 

Kevin Martin, Partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP reviewed the changes to the 2024 lease and followed up with a question-and-answer session. WI-CARH engages Mr. Martin each year to review Wisconsin and Federal statutes relating to Rural Development housing that keep leases up to date and applicable to current law. These leases are available through WI-CARH.

Chris Fearn and Lynn Heslinga from SVA Certified Public Accountants did a session on Energy Opportunities Under the Inflation Act. Chris and Lynn covered new and expanding opportunities for energy efficiency and solar development in affordable housing under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Following the afternoon break, Julie Felhofer, Policy and Budget Branch Chief, Asset Management from Rural Development did a session on Rural Development Updates. Julie covered the inspection program, current servicing activities, decoupling efforts, HOTMA as well as upcoming NOFA, and NOSA funding opportunities.

Colleen Fisher, Executive Director of CARH spoke on the View from Washington. Colleen gave us insight on leadership and budget negotiations, Rural Development budget prospects, and the state of rural housing moving forward.

Larry Anderson from "Get RD Done Right" is a consultant with a deep background and experience with the RD Multi-Family programs. Formally employed in the national office at USDA, Larry discussed MFH Preservation Strategies for 2024 and Beyond.

Rounding out our afternoon session, a panel discussion on Lending Opportunities for Your Properties with Chris Mullen of Bonneville Multifamily Capital and Eileen Neely, Housing Assistance Counsel discussed short-term and long-term lending. 

Closing out the conference, door prizes and a final raffle for a spring training registration were distributed followed by an end-of-conference reception.

WI-CARH received very favorable comments from conference attendees through our evaluation feedback. We are always looking for suggestions on topics and program ideas for 2024. Make plans now to attend the 2024 conference on October 24 at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells.

Gary Kirkman, US Housing Consultants, Keynote Speaker - HOTMA Eligibility Essentials

Julie Lassa, State Director, Rural Development and Russell Kaney, President of WI-CARH

Introduction of exhibitors

WI-CARH Marketplace - time to visit exhibitor booths

WI-CARH Marketplace - time to visit exhibitor booths

WI-CARH Marketplace - time to visit exhibitor booths

Conference Attendees

WI-CARH's Awards and Scholarship Program

Raffle Winner - All raffle items are made in Wisconsin

Raffle Winner - All raffle items are made in Wisconsin

Thank you to WI-CARH's 24th Annual Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors

A special thanks to the 2023 Sponsors and Exhibitors

for making this event a success.

Please click on their logos to go directly to their websites.

Congratulations WI-CARH Award Winners!

There were multiple nominations for the WI-CARH awards this year. We were pleased to announce the following award recipients at our 2023 annual conference in November. If you would like to submit a nomination for the 2024 conference, please complete this form.

Property of the Year: Prairie House Apartments in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Managed by Wisconsin Management Company

Congratulations to Prairie House Apartments for being awarded the WI-CARH 2023 Property of the Year. Prairie House Apartments received a complete rehab in 2020-2021. This luxury affordable housing is an extraordinary opportunity for low-income elderly or disabled individuals. The rehab allowed for laundry machines to be added to the second floor, complete handicapped accessibility, and the resident's gardens to grow all their vegetables. All the flooring upgrades in the community spaces are luxury vinyl planks, ceiling fans in the bedrooms and living room, and free internet to keep their expenses lower. The property is located right across the street from the high school which allows residents to enjoy listening to the high school marching band.

Congratulations to Regional Manager, Jamsie, and her team at Prairie House Apartments.

Site Manager of the Year - Wendy Skoien, and Maintenance Person of the Year - Jim Skoien, Greenspire Apartments

Congratulations to Wendy and Jim Skoien from Greenspire Apartments for the 2023 WI-CARH's Site Manager of the Year (Wendy) and Jim, Maintenance Person of the Year! Wendy and Jim have been an integral part of the Greenspire community for nearly three decades, dedicating their time, energy, and expertise to ensure the smooth operation and maintenance of the property. Their unwavering commitment and exceptional care have undoubtedly contributed to making Greenspire a thriving and welcoming community for the residents. Greenspire Apartments is managed by Broihahn Management and Consulting, LLC.

Scholarship Award - Gael Rodriguez

Drivers Education

Thank you for giving me this opportunity for something that I will be doing for the rest of my life. I could not have done it without you. I appreciate it.  

Gael Rodriguez


Youth Activities and Scholarship Funding Available


Wisconsin Council for Affordable and Rural Housing has funding to help you in your extracurricular activities, and scholarships to continue your education beyond high school.

Download the attached flyer and post it in your lobby or breakrooms. On the flyer, there is a QR code that can be scanned to tell us more about what you would like to do and how we can help you achieve your goal.


WI-CARH 2024 Residential Lease Is Available


The WI-CARH Lease is available and approved for use in any Rural   

Development supervised property. Using this lease for your property will ensure that you are in compliance with Wisconsin law and RD regulations while saving you the expense of hiring a lawyer to do the same thing. Just like last year, it is available in three formats:

  • FHA Software Generated Lease - WI-CARH has teamed up with Simply Computer Software to give FHA Software users the access and ability to generate their WI-CARH Residential Lease and Amendments forms within their FHA Software program. Users of this program can generate the lease through the RD 3560-8 Tenant Certification - PRINT options window. All of the applicable project, unit and tenant information will automatically be inserted.

  • Stand-alone WI-CARH Lease Generation Program - A link will be sent to you from Simply Computer Software that will allow you to download and install the WI-CARH Lease Generation Program which includes pre-entered property listing information you provided. To produce a lease, just open the program, select the property, enter pertinent tenant information, and print.

  • Paper Lease - A package of 10 leases and 10 amendments will be shipped to you which you will use to handwrite all pertinent tenant information.

To purchase the lease, complete the lease order form and mail it in with your payment to the WI-CARH Office at: P.O. Box 258098, Madison, WI 53725.


Become a 2024 Member of WI-CARH


Renew your Membership today! Not a current member?  Now is a great time to join!

WI-CARH is dedicated to assisting you in the rural housing industry.  

Through your membership, you help support an organization made up of your peers and housing professionals both within the State of Wisconsin and nationally. WI-CARH members include builders, developers, lenders,   

management companies, owners, non-profit agencies, and vendors. You also have the opportunity to meet industry leaders and to align yourself with a diverse group of businesspeople involved in every sector of the affordable housing community.

When you become a member of WI-CARH, you gain access to important tools, information, and services. The monetary benefits range from discounts on conferences, training, and leases to savings through the CARH Preferred Buyers Club program. 

More information on the benefits of membership can be found on our websiteIf you are a current member, invoices have been sent and are due February 19, 2024. If you are not a member, simply complete the form and mail it along with a check to WI-CARH at P.O. Box 258098, Madison, WI 53725.  



WI-CARH's Spring Training will be held on April 24-25, 2024 at the DoubleTree in Madison. Gary Kirkman from US Housing Consultants will be the trainer. More information to come.


Save the Date - WI-CARH's 25th Annual Fall Conference


WI-CARH's 25th Annual Fall Conference will be held on October 24, 2024 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. More information to come.


WI-CARH Board of Directors


Russell D. Kaney, President - ruskaney@msn.com


Rob Dicke, Vice President - rdicke@whpccorp.org

Brittany Leonard, Treasurer - bleonard@hawkinsashcpas.com

Russ Endres, Secretary - rendres@wimci.com


Donna Braun, Director - donna@dodgehousing.org

Rebecca Giroux, Director - Rebecca.giroux@wheda.com

Denise Loveland, Director - dloveland@horizon-management.net


Duane Tinsley, Director - Duane@SimplyComputer.net

Mark Your Calendars - 2024 Dates

April 24-25, 2024 - WI-CARH's Spring Training will be held at the DoubleTree in Madison, Wisconsin.

May 14, 2024 - WI-CARH Board of Directors Meeting

September 10, 2024 - WI-CARH Board of Directors Meeting

October 24, 2024 - WI-CARH's 25th Annual Conference will be held at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

October 25, 2024 - WI-CARH's Board of Directors Meeting at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells

Do you have news to share?
We would love to hear about it!
Please submit your news to info@wicarh.org