Low-income homeowners in MKE receive free housing repair assistance

"Revitalize Milwaukee" targets neighborhoods
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 18:40:47-05

Some struggling neighborhoods in Milwaukee are in line for a makeover.

Low-income homeowners, including senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities, will soon get much needed help to renovate their homes.

The group "Revitalize Milwaukee" reached out to more than 200 community leaders in the fall of 2016 and asked them to submit a block in their neighborhood for the 2017 "Block Build MKE" initiative.

The goal is to help make life easier and improve neighborhoods that would otherwise struggle to fund repair costs on their own.

Four neighborhoods were chosen to receive assistance:

  • Clarke Square Neighborhood: S.17th Street between W. Mineral and W. Greenfield
  • Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers area: S. 18th and S. 19th Streets between Lincoln and W. Hayes
  • Near West Side Partners neighborhood: East portion of Miller Valley on the triangle plot of homes between State Street, N. 37th Street and W. Miller Lane.
  • Riverworks: 3rd and 4th Streets between W. Capitol Place and West Abert Place

"We are making a difference and we are going to continue to have a huge impact and be a resource for the community," Revitalize Milwaukee CEO Lynnea Katz-Petted said.  "We have a great responsibility to give back and make sure people in our community are truly safe in their homes and that they have the ability to have running water and live in a safe environment without having to worry about whether they are going to have heat or whether their doors are going to fall off."

Elisa Martinez lives in the Clarke Square neighborhood near 17th and Mineral. We're told 30 homes on her block will be repaired beginning in May. Although she is not part of the program, she recently qualified for a program through her neighborhood association that reimburses homeowners for repairs.

"I just did my porch, some of the siding, the door, and painted," Martinez said. "I feel really happy about it."

Home improvements can also help drive up property values, which Clarke Square Neighborhood Executive Director Ian Bautista is happy about. He's also glad that assistance is coming to people who need it most.

"You're going to see ramps (installed) for some households that have a person in a wheelchair or scooter," Bautista said. "You're going to see improvements to exteriors, whether that be siding, windows, roofs, decks, porches and those types of things."

Here's the "Block Build" Initiative construction times:

Clarke Square neighborhood: Beginning May 19, 2017
Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers mini block build: July 2017
Near West Side Partners mini block build: September 2017
Riverworks Development mini block builod: October 2017.

To learn more about "Revitalize Milwaukee" and to apply for assistance, click here.