Today the Common Council approved legislation that will enable the City of Milwaukee to use up to $2 million in grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for the demolition, deconstruction and rehabilitation of blighted properties.
The funding is expected to pay for the demolition of 100 homes – thereby removing potential neighborhood health and public safety threats to citizens – and for 100 homes to be rehabilitated.
We think the initiative is a much-needed win-win-win for Milwaukee.
First, the majority of renovation expenditures from the grant will impact properties in the expanded Sherman Park area (generally bounded by N. 60th St., N. 20th St., W. Capitol Dr. and W. Lloyd St.). The investment in addressing properties in this area is needed and provides positive momentum after months of intense focus on the challenges residents face there daily.
Additionally, the initiative will promote homeownership with purchase or lease-to-own options. This approach nurtures stable, owner occupied homeownership to build and strengthen our neighborhoods.
Last, renovation funds will be awarded to for-profit and non-profit developers through a Request for Proposal process, with funds to be used to pay wages for individuals who are enrolled in a construction trades training program, certified by the Residents Preference Program, or alumni of the Compete Milwaukee transitional jobs program. These local workers will be paid a living wage to do valuable work that furthers their skills and invests in and improves our housing stock.
We are looking forward to getting this initiative up and operating quickly, with support from the Department of City Development and the Department of Neighborhood Services.