Milwaukee, Wisconsin Strong Neighborhoods

What are the Program Goals?

The City of Milwaukee, as part of a broad coalition of partners, works to address the problem of home mortgage foreclosures, home ownership and housing rehabilitation in ways that offer a comprehensive approach to matters of residential living. The main areas for focus include:

Prevention efforts - to expand outreach and increase education for homeowners and potential homebuyers;

Intervention efforts - to assist homebuyers facing foreclosure; and

Stabilization efforts - to address vacant and abandoned properties in city neighborhoods.

Who are some of the partners?

In 2008, former Mayor Tom Barrett launched the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative (MFPI) as part of a coordinated response to combat the effects of the rise in foreclosures on city residents and neighborhoods. Bringing together stakeholders from government, philanthropy, lenders, nonprofit community agencies and hundreds of local volunteers, the team developed innovative solutions to address the foreclosure problem in Milwaukee. The Common Council also convened the Special Joint Committee on the Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes to guide the city's efforts for the use of federal funding to address foreclosed homes in city neighborhoods.

Parallel programs, such as Take Root Milwaukee, were launched as part of a multi-level partnership. This program provides free or low-cost, trustworthy and confidential assistance to help individuals or families purchase and keep a new home. As part of a package of comprehensive consumer education, Take Root Milwaukee connects potential buyers with trusted lenders, credible housing professionals, lists of eligible properties, and financial assistance for those who qualify. What are some of the major program components? As part of the Strong Neighborhoods Plan, the Milwaukee Department of City Development and the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC) work hand-in-hand with community-based agencies, financial institutions, developers, local foundations, and residents, to improve neighborhoods.

Programs offered by NIDC include the following:

Targeted Investment Neighborhoods (TINs) TINs sustain and increase owner-occupancy, provide high quality affordable rental housing, strengthen property values, and improve neighborhood physical appearance and quality of life. TINs focus resources for 3 years on a small area, generally 6 to 12 city blocks.

Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative Working with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, this initiative focuses on a neighborhood's positive attributes and works to engage neighbors and homeowners to invest in their neighborhoods and position them as good places to live.

Tax Incremental Districts (TIDs) The City of Milwaukee has a limited number of neighborhood-based Tax Incremental Districts offering forgivable loans to assist owner-occupants with repairs. This special financing tool enables the city to borrow against the growth of tax base in order to create a pool of loan resources.

Emergency Loan Program NIDC offers assistance to income-eligible owner-occupants throughout the City of Milwaukee. The Homeowners' Emergency Loan Program (HELP) is available for emergencies that, if not corrected, would make the home uninhabitable. HELP is not available for maintenance, code violations, or other work that is not a true emergency.

Homebuyer Assistance Program Provides up to $20,000.00 to assist with the rehabilitation of city-owned foreclosed homes. NIDC and its development partners also have a limited number of rehabilitated homes available for sale.

Community Improvement Projects (CIPs) Matching grants of up to $3,000.00 are available for sustainable projects that physically enhance a neighborhood and increase resident camaraderie.

Resources:

Take Root Milwaukee  Milwaukee Department of City Development

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