MILWAUKEE — For decades it was home to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but now this historic building is starting a new chapter and some local college students will benefit.
It was a day of celebration for Milwaukee Area Technical College officials as they unveiled their new affordable student housing project in downtown Milwaukee.
"We've been trying to do affordable student housing for years," said MATC President, Dr. Vicki Martin.
Officials say the $29.1 million project is the first of its kind in Milwaukee and aims to combat housing insecurity for MATC and other area students by offering one, two, and four-bedroom apartments, all at reasonable costs.
"The average rental rate per bed is about $645. Which is about 20-25% below market," said Josh Jeffers, founder and CEO of J. Jeffers & Co.
The building will now provide more than 190 students with stable and affordable housing, something that MATC officials say was critically needed.
"So many of our students, 65%, are having housing instability," said Martin.
"A lot of students find that housing insecurity or having problems obtaining housing can sometimes lead to them dropping out or not performing as well," said Jeffers.
"With this now being a thing that I don't have to worry about - where I'm living, where I'm staying at - that takes a huge load off and it will help me maintain focus more on school," said MATC sophomore, Malachi Key.
And while it's not an immediate fix to the affordable housing crisis that Milwaukee is seeing, city officials say its at least a step in the right direction.
"This fits in right with our goal of having more housing, of having respectable housing for people of all incomes wherever they are in their lives," said Mayor Tom Barrett.
MATC officials add that students started moving into the new affordable apartment on Aug. 1 and they still have rooms available for anyone else who is interested.