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The first walls were raised today on an affordable homeownership initiative in the Harambee neighborhood. Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity plans to build more than 80 brand new, affordable homes in the area over the next four years. These homes are part of their Cost of Home campaign to serve 250 families on Milwaukee’s northwest side through affordable homeownership and critical home repair.
Mayor Tom Barrett, CEO of Bader Philanthropies, Inc. Dan Bader and City Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump joined Milwaukee Habitat Executive Director Brian Sonderman to kick off the project by raising the walls of one of three Habitat homes beginning construction on the 3400 block of North 3rd Street.
Milwaukee Habitat’s Brian Sonderman noted that Habitat homeownership is about the present and the future.
“Today there are neighbors in our community who are struggling with unaffordable, unsafe and overcrowded rental units. These are hardworking families who, because of the rising cost of housing, are paying half or more of their income for an apartment with a leaking roof. These families need a safe place to raise their children at a price they can afford today. But this is also about the future. A tenet of the American dream is upward mobility. The opportunity to give your children a better future than you had growing up. One of the largest factors in generational wealth creation is homeownership.”
U.S. homeowners have an average net wealth that is 400% higher than that of renters with similar demographics and earnings. Yet, local families earning below Milwaukee’s median income are often met with barriers to homeownership like the ability to afford a down payment or gain access to an affordable loan.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity offers an opportunity for local families in need of safe, affordable housing to become first-time home buyers. Habitat homeowners pay a mortgage that won’t exceed 30% of their income, widely recognized as the threshold for affordable housing. They also receive financial education and home maintenance courses to help prepare them to be successful homeowners.
Milwaukee Habitat is now accepting applications for their 2021 new construction homes. Interested individuals can learn more and apply by attending their free, virtual homeowner orientation at milwaukeehabitat.org/housing.