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Nearly $180 million in ARPA funding approved to be spent on affordable housing in Milwaukee

housing market
Posted at 5:53 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 19:32:50-05

MILWAUKEE — Creating more affordable housing in Milwaukee has been a major goal for the city. That's why the city council approved spending the rest of the funding coming from the first round of the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, on this mission.

"That money is going to be going to the production of new affordable homes, rehabs, new reconstruction, as well as strategic demolition," said Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity executive director, Brian Sonderman.

Out of the $179 million that the council approved to spend: Nearly $44 million will go towards affordable housing, $26 million is earmarked for lead abatement, and $10 million will be set aside for a housing trust fund, among other earmarked funding.

"All of those things will help this community not just recover from the pandemic, but really deal with generational issues that have occurred making it very difficult for people to be in safe affordable homes," said Sonderman.

Acts Housing, an organization that helps improve home-ownership rates in Milwaukee, is hoping the city will use that money to continue to fund its downpayment assistance program, which assists families to go from being renters to homeowners.

"That was a big part of our proposal was to keep this going, keep some money funding this," said Acts Housing chief development and marketing officer, Kelly Andrew.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee's Habitat for Humanity is hoping to get at least $12 million of ARPA funding in order to double the number of homes they'll be able to produce over the next couple of years and to keep up with demand.

"We are inundated with applications from families who are inquiring about Habitat and our home-ownership program. We are seeing 5 to 6 times the number of families coming to us each month than were coming pre-pandemic," said Sonderman.

This is just the first round of ARPA funding that will be coming to Milwaukee. The city is expected to get roughly $200 million in the next round, which the city is expected to receive in early 2022. It's not clear where that money will go just yet.

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