A legacy of past choices: Milwaukee’s housing crisis explained – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2022-05-12 07:00:00 –

The Community Development Alliance identified the need for 32,000 additional rental housing units such as these in 2015. (NNS file photo)

With rising rents, stagnant wages and a shortage of available units, Milwaukees are facing an affordable housing crisis. According to local housing experts, this crisis is a legacy of the city’s past policy choices.

The city was recently acknowledged for the lack of unprotected homeless people, but it was also a central setting for homeless inequality, awkward levels of evictions, and housing shortages.

This combination left many Milwaukees with no choice.

This was avoided.

Anne Bonds, a professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said the redlining resulted in a discriminatory process of denying service to residents based on race and ethnicity, and racial contracts were executed in real time. Said that it will be done.

“People like to chalk the separation of cities to people living in comfortable places and other socio-economic reasons,” Bond said. “But in reality, the neighborhood looks like this by design.”

She said that racially restricted practices and policies have directed investment in the suburbs, and that wage-maintaining employment growth continues to occur outside the city, “concentrating disadvantages on urban communities and overall. It will lead to “reduction of investment”.

“Over time, the idea of ​​which areas are good and which are bad has been strengthened,” she said. “Journalist Jane Jacobs called what happened a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

“Home at stake”

These dynamics are still carried out in a brutal way today.

“There are so many households in crisis,” said Deb Heffner, director of housing strategy at Community Advocates, which provides services and support to people in need. “Rental assistance is just a band-aid fix to a real problem.”

The organization has provided rental support funds to more than 15,000 people since 2020, with approximately 4,000 people awaiting support.

Mike Bare, research and program coordinator at Community Advocates, said housing and health are related.

“You can draw a straight line from housing problems to suicide,” Bear said. “So what people might see as an individual housing problem becomes a public health problem, which is all of us.”

A Report According to the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, housing problems can lead to chronic stress, which can have serious health consequences.

“Constant chronic exposure to high levels of these hormones can be harmful to health in many ways,” the report said. This includes chronic high blood pressure that causes stroke and heart disease. Chronic hyperglycemia that can lead to obesity and diabetes; chronic suppression of the immune system makes people more vulnerable to infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

History of housing problems

Experts say past policies have shaped the state of affordable housing today.

Bethany Sanchez, director of the Fair Lending Program at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, said: “This is a legacy of our past choices.”

It was a destructive legacy.

“There was a time when Milwaukee had the strongest black middle class in the country,” said US Congressman Nguyen Moore of D-Milwaukee. “Now it is considered the worst place in the country for black children to grow up.”

Moore pointed out unemployment, lack of transportation to available jobs to pay living wages, and predatory lenders as other reasons for the crisis.

“I can point out the rise in rent, but it’s a lot cheaper than rent in New York or California,” she said. “We need to consider something that is unique to this community.”

Bear said these things happened elsewhere, but they just happened here earlier and Milwaukee hasn’t recovered yet.

“Macroeconomic factors such as the hollowing out of industry hit Milwaukee 10 to 20 years before hitting other cities,” he said. “That means we have previously experienced a housing market failure and a loss of family equity.”

In addition, the city has new housing barriers. Bonds pointed out unfair leasing practices.

“Rents are very high in low-income areas,” she said. “And according to other research, there are private equity companies that are allowed to buy large amounts of real estate and tend to drive out tenants at a much higher rate than individual landlords, both local and out-of-state.”

Bear and Hofner said the lack of available units also hindered recovery.

Report by Community Development AllianceA group of community development funders and practitioners working to improve neighborhoods in Milwalky has 32,000 black and Latin homeowners for families earning $ 7.25 to $ 15 per hour. And identified the need for a rental unit of 32,000 people.

According to a 2019 report, 55.8% of Milwaukee homeowners are white, 37.5% are Latino, and 27% are black.

The Milwaukees have been trying to tackle this problem for years.

In 2018, the city of Milwaukee launched a 10,000-unit housing initiative, improving affordable housing opportunities for 10,000 households in the city in 10 years.

A Report According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, there are more than 70 organizations in the city that address people’s housing needs.

“Housing is the primary focus of some of these organizations, but housing is one of several focal points for most organizations,” the report said. “Most respondents report that they have partnered with at least one public sector organization within the last three years to provide housing services or develop affordable homes.”

Organizations have provided solutions to address these issues.

The Community Development Alliance A 2021 report outlining the city’s affordable housing plans identified a set of solutions. These included homeownership counseling after purchase and an acquisition fund to build affordable rental housing.

2020 Institute of Public Policy The report proposed a series of policy changes in the lessee’s health report. These included policies to maintain existing affordable homes and expand tax-raising loans for affordable home development.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum Report He also proposed solutions to housing challenges, such as developing more affordable mixed-income housing near employment centers.

“We just want to put the information in front of people,” Joe said. Petangelo, Principal Investigator, Wisconsin Policy Forum. “Hopefully it informs and influences the conversation.”

Where to ask for help

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council We are committed to providing access to more low-income households in the city.

And that Rental Housing Resource CenterStreamlining a range of housing services and service providers into one space and process, is open daily.
728 N. James Lovell St. helps people navigate their urgent housing needs. (414) You can call them with 895-RENT (7368).

Wisconsin legal action is working Shorten the eviction period It’s in someone’s record.

Resources to consult if you are worried about eviction

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