A Home is Hope: Milwaukee Habitat begins Harambee project to build affordable housing for more families – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-04-08 06:05:58 –

The first wall was built on April 7th at 3455 N. 3rd Street in the Haramby district with an affordable homeownership initiative, marking a new phase of community development in the region over the next few years.

Mayor Tom Barrett, CEO of Bader Philanthropies Dan Bader, and Lafayette Crump, City Development Commissioner, have joined Milwaukee Habitat’s Executive Director, Brian Sonderman, to launch an initiative at a press conference at a workplace where one of the three new homes is actively under construction. .. The milestone event ended with a ceremonial wall lift and four speakers signing a wish for the studs.

“Here in the Haramby district, Habitat’s mission is to build a home, a community, and hope,” Sonderman said. “And given what happened last year, we believe these homes are a sign of hope, not only for the homeowners who live in them, but also for their neighbors and our entire city.”

Through the Harambee Affordable Homeownership Project, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity plans to serve 250 families in the northwestern part of Milwaukee over the next four years. The total includes over 80 affordable homes built in the Harambi and Midtown districts, with only 22% of residents owning homes.

In the Metro Milwaukee area of ​​the four counties, three out of four black families do not own a home, but three out of four white families do. This is one of the worst racial homeownership gaps in the United States.

“How do you create hope in people’s lives? Breaking down the word” hope “into letters basically gives you material,” said Mayor Barrett. “The first letter” H “is” house “and that is the starting point. The second letter “O” is an “opportunity”, an economic opportunity to support yourself and your family. The third is the “P” of “purpose”, which is why we are on this planet. And if you have a purpose in your life, you are much more likely to have hope. And the last letter, the last ingredient is “E”, which is “education”. If you are educated, it gives you a better tool to have hope in your life. So home, opportunity, purpose, and education are elements of hope. But it all starts at home. “

Affordable home ownership is important in Milwaukee. Too many families in the community suffer from unsafe, expensive and overcrowded rental units. Owner-occupiers are also one of the biggest drivers of generational wealth, an economic opportunity that has historically been denied by people of color. Inequality dates back decades to the 1930s, when government policies such as “red lining” created institutional inequality.

Studies show that homeowners’ average net worth is 400% higher than lessors with similar demographics and revenues. In Milwaukee, one in three renters spend more than half of their income on housing. Of these families, 23% are likely to have difficulty buying food, 28% are likely not covered by health insurance, and nearly twice as many are likely not to have a car. There is.

“One of the things I’ve learned over the years is the importance of the community,” says Bader. “Communities are essential. They are the glue (secret source) that makes everything happen. And here is a collection of community members gathered to build a house for the wonderful family who live here. What I’m really excited about is watching these vacant lots turn into homes next year and the families moving to build homes. “

Milwaukee Habitat’s affordable homeownership program has made homeownership accessible to low- and middle-income families who often face very high interest rates and heavy down payment obstacles from traditional lenders. The average mortgage payment for a new Habitat home is between $ 500 and $ 800 per month. This value is below the median income of Milwaukee and offers a real alternative to paying rent for families who see home ownership as potentially out of reach.

“One of the things we advertise about Milwaukee when we have these big economic projects is the availability of the workforce. The demand for work is here and ready to work. There are people who are willing to work, “said Crump. “And some people are excited about the opportunity to become homeowners. The demand is there and we all need to participate in meeting that demand. We have people who deserve them, and You can create the opportunity to live the life they want. “

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