As part of its new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), which seeks to not only construct new homes, but also positively impact entire neighborhoods, more than 100 volunteers today launched Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s May Blitz Build week—the first new home construction project of the year. For the second year in a row, the Brewers Community Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the event and has teamed up with Ryan Braun and the Wives of the Brewers to lend support through a $50,000 donation. The build site is located at 1426 North 34th Street in the Washington Park neighborhood, which is the focus of the NRI.
Members of the Brewers organization, including Ryan Braun and Ron and Karen Roenicke, along with other players and Brewers wives, helped kick off the build. Tomorrow, May 8, fifteen Brewers wives, including Ellen Melvin, Karen Roenicke, Larisa Fraser (Braun’s Fiancée) , Kristina Hart, and Nicole Axford, will roll up their sleeves, bring out their hammers, and work alongside Habitat partner family Salvador Villalobos to build the new home that the Brewers Community Foundation, Ryan Braun and the Wives made possible. They’ll join Habitat’s dedicated volunteers and sponsors working on a variety of projects in Washington Park: building new affordable homes, helping homeowners make needed repairs on existing homes, and increasing community safety.
“Supporting Milwaukee Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, and particularly the Blitz Build, is an excellent way for Brewers Community Foundation to carry out our mission. We are proud to be the lead sponsor of such an impactful week of teamwork and tangible accomplishments,” states Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of Brewers Community Foundation.
For the past 29 years, Milwaukee Habitat has partnered with hardworking families to help them achieve the dream of homeownership. This year, the organization is launching a new strategy that will enable it to build on its long history of new home construction to work on the revitalization of entire neighborhoods. The broader focus on community development has led Milwaukee Habitat to expand its housing services and to develop new partnerships with neighborhood residents and organizations in order to address a range of community issues, such as public safety, health and wellness, youth development, and economic development. The NRI strategy can be seen in the projects that Milwaukee Habitat has planned for the May Blitz Build week:
- New Construction: Milwaukee Habitat will construct three new single-family homes, supported by partnerships with the Brewers Community Foundation, Ryan Braun, the Brewers Wives and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
- Home Preservation: Habitat volunteers will work with homeowners on a variety of interior and exterior home repair projects, including painting, replacing windows, installing weather stripping, and repairing porches.
- Community Safety: Volunteers will “Safety-Up” a residential block in Washington Park neighborhood. Using recommendations provided by Milwaukee Police Department property assessments, volunteer will help to increase safety and dissuade break-ins by cutting back brush, removing obstacles, improving lighting, and adding other home safety measures.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s core mission remains to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home. Last year, the Brewers Community Foundation and Ryan Braun helped Marquitta Smith and her three young children achieve that goal when they sponsored the construction of her house in the Amani neighborhood. Ms. Smith completed her sweat equity over the winter, and became the first Habitat homeowner of 2013 when she closed on her home in January. “I am grateful that I can make a difference in the Milwaukee community by helping Habitat reach more families this year, giving them the opportunity to build not just houses, but also a better future for themselves ,” said Braun.
The gratitude is shared by Milwaukee Habitat. “We are thrilled about our ongoing partnership with Ryan Braun, the Brewers Wives and the Brewers Community Foundation,” said Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat.