The Targeted Investment Neighborhood (TIN) initiative aims to enhance the quality of life for residents in central city Milwaukee by providing loans and technical assistance to improve and maintain owner-occupied and rental housing.
Tanyialisa McDowell had been thinking about making repairs to her Borchert Field home when good news arrived at her door in the form of a flier. It announced the awarding of Targeted Investment Neighborhood (TIN) status to the 14th Street C.A.R.E.S. block club, covering a T-shaped swath of the North Side including her block.
The TIN’s Home Rehabilitation Loan Program makes up to $30,000 available to qualified homeowners and up to $15,000 per unit to rental property owners in Borchert Field. Half of the loan amount can be forgiven if certain criteria are met. The balance can be repaid with zero interest.
The flier was distributed by 14th Street C.A.R.E.S. (recently renamed Borchert Field C.A.R.E.S.). “I knew the time was coming for a renovation project. I was mentally trying to prepare and get my finances together and ask around and do my research. And then [the TIN program] came about. Everything just fell right in place,” McDowell said.
With the help of Dick Haak, a rehabilitation specialist with the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC), McDowell determined that the house’s foundation was in good condition but that she needed to replace the roof and gutters, 12 windows, furnace, garage door and several sinks. The house and garage also needed electrical improvements.
“They tell you what they feel definitely needs to be done. And then you can suggest some other things too. But you only get to borrow so much money and then if it exceeds what you’re allowed, they’re going to do just what they feel really needs to be done,” McDowell said.
McDowell’s heating contractor, RJ Heating & Air Conditioning LLC, installed a new furnace in early March. Work on the roof and gutters will begin as soon as weather permits. She expects all of the work to be completed before summer.
Choosing contractors has been the most challenging task so far, McDowell said.
“To me, that’s the stress of it, getting a good person who’s going to do the work.”
Rather than search on her own, she worked with the city to identify potential contractors. Multiple contractors and sub-contractors contacted her to see the house, discuss scheduling and submit bids. In the end she chose Horizon Enterprises LLC to do all the work except for the furnace.
“[Horizon] won me over,” McDowell noted. “I wanted to get the best price.”
Once the loan was approved, contractors were selected and the final papers were signed, McDowell was informed of the amount of her loan payments and the repayment schedule. She must begin making loan payments in May.
McDowell, a certified nursing assistant who works full time, has deep roots on her block. Her three-bedroom bungalow at 3226 N. 13th St. has been in her family for at least 50 years, she said. Her mother grew up there. McDowell and her daughter, then about 8 years old, moved in when McDowell inherited the house from her grandmother in 2001.
Over the years, 11 foster children joined them. The last one, a 9-year-old girl whom she adopted, still lives with her. Her biological daughter remained until she entered Marquette University in fall 2011. In addition, family members from her mother’s side have lived in the house next door since the early 1970s and her aunt still lives there.
McDowell is grateful for the TIN loan and the help she is receiving from NIDC. She said, “It is a wonderful blessing and help. I like that it all can be done at one time and I am so thankful that I was able to qualify.”