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Statewide network 'Take Root Wisconsin' launches to reverse declining homeownership rate

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 19:07:21-04

The State Treasurer's Homeownership Task Force has launched a statewide network to help reverse declining homeownership rates.

The network, called Take Root Wisconsin, brought together a team of local treasurers, Realtors, lending experts, non-profits, and others to build on the task force's work over the last year.

"We're going to be building regional capacity to help Wisconsinites achieve the American dream of homeownership," said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski.

Members said the work includes scaling up a foreclosure prevention pilot that was launched in La Crosse and developing easier to understand information on property taxes and tools.

"Having so many players at the table or committed to doing something in the space - that's a victory," said Michael Gosman, President and CEO of Acts Housing.

The non-profit has helped thousands of families in Milwaukee and Rock counties overcome a myriad of barriers to owning a home.

Gosman said during the last 10 years, Milwaukee has lost 10 percent of its homeowners. Between more absentee investor owners gobbling up properties, rising rent and other challenges, owning a home can be more elusive than ever for families, especially people of color.

Gosman said he hopes the statewide effort also addresses capital and financing, but believes the focus on housing issues could make a difference in Milwaukee.

"I think having a group that's in place, that's at the table saying homeownership should be a priority, preserving homeownership should be a priority, making sure that there are better options for these hard-working families that are really just trying to improve their lives - this is a pathway toward that," Gosman said.

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