MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Department of City Development is joining forces with the Community Development Alliance in order to create a hyper-focused plan to address serious housing issues in the city.
"I really do think that this is a monumental opportunity for Milwaukee. We want to be very targeted in identifying what works for Milwaukee, what works for our neighborhoods, and what works for the target population," said Gina Stilp, chair of the Community Development Alliance.
In the affordable housing action plan, officials have highlighted four priority areas they'd like to address: the homeownership gap between Black and Hispanic families compared to white families; reducing eviction rates; making sure existing Black and Hispanic homeowners maintain ownership; and creating affordable housing and rental units in the city.
"You really like to see people paying no more than say 30% or so of their income in rental costs and unfortunately there are a number of people who are paying that and so much more," said Lafayette Crump, Commissioner of City Development.
To put the homeownership gap in Milwaukee into context: According to a recent study, as of 2018, 69% of homeowners in the city are white, compared to 40% who are Hispanic and 27% of homeowners are Black.
"Access to financing, the legacy of redlining in our community where people of color were not able to purchase homes in certain neighborhoods, is still with us today," said Stilp.
While the plan is still in its developing stages, ideas are already being discussed to help create more affordable housing and mitigate the homeownership gap.
"Some of the things that we are starting to think about our down payment assistance programs, there are opportunities for alternative homeownership models. It’s strategies that we’ve implored four years in terms of helping to subsidize the construction of affordable or accessible housing," said Crump.
Officials say they hope to have the affordable housing action plan completed by the end of the year - and begin the implementation process by 2022.