Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity to expand its home building and revitalization efforts in the city

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 13:26:34-04
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity announced Tuesday it will expand its home building and revitalization efforts in the city.
Since 2013, more than 215 families have moved into Habitat homes in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.
The organization credits its efforts there with decreasing crime, down 48% on blocks housing Habitat homes since 2010, and increasing morale among neighbors. According to Milwaukee Habitat, 84% of Washington Park residents surveyed now feel like they’re a part of the neighborhood, compared to 63% in 2013.
Milwaukee Habitat allows future homeowners to work alongside volunteers in constructing their houses. Once moved in, the new homeowners pay an affordable mortgage that’s no more than 30% of their monthly, household income.
Habitat Milwaukee Executive Director Brian Sonderman said nearly 60% of Milwaukee renters currently live in un-affordable housing. They pay too much in rent and don’t have money left over to cover other essentials.  
“You don’t have much left for things like a child’s education, for medicine, or even just for saving for the future,” Sonderman said.
Sonderman said Milwaukee Habitat now hopes to replicate its efforts in Washington Park in the neighborhoods just East of there. He said the organization will invest $9-million over the next three years into those areas.
“It’s an area of Milwaukee that’s been under-resourced and hasn’t had a lead agency to really organize the efforts there,” Sonderman said.
Sonderman added Milwaukee Habitat also plans to begin ramping up efforts in the Harambee neighborhood starting in 2021. He hopes that development will equal, if not exceed, the work done in Washington Park.
“The goal would be to be able to touch a similar number of properties – if not more – in that time span,” Sonderman said.