City gives family new home on Christmas

Family's house burned down

Just a month away from owning her first house, a Milwaukee mother lost everything. But a special program refused to let her family stay homeless.

Dakeela Burkes thought her dream of home ownership ended two weeks ago. The Milwaukee mother of four had been in a rent-to-own program run by ACTS Housing. The non-profit helps low income families purchase houses. Burkes was a month away from closing when her house went up in flames.

"You worked so hard and then to see everything taken away from you, you know what I'm saying," Burkes said. 

Since then, her family has been living with relatives. Burkes thought all the money she invested was gone. But ACTS found her another house.

"Dekeela will receive this house for $1," says Coretta Herring, financial counselor for ACTS.

ACTS and the city partnered up. The city had a foreclosed home that was sitting vacant just two streets over from Burkes’ old home.

"We have some homes in the city and we want families to be in them," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. 

Her kids now finally have a new room of their own.

"We think it was awesome that we had a new house," said 10-year-old William Baskins, Burkes' son.

"I love it. And I can't wait to see the outcome of it," said Tameka Frazier, Burkes’ 18-year-old daughter.

Burkes also can’t too wait to make this house a home. 

"To see everybody coming together is wonderful. I can't express how I'm feeling right now," Burkes said. 

The city is donating $20,000 to bring the home up to code. The family plans to move it about mid-February. 

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