SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WINNER
2414 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee
ACTS Housing is the only nonprofit real estate brokerage firm in the state. The organization was formed in order to promote homeownership by addressing two primary social problems: the foreclosure crisis and the lack of affordable housing for low-income families in the community.
According to the organization, it’s a common misconception that the traditional housing market is inaccessible to low-income communities. ACTS Housing rejects that misconception and works diligently to facilitate homeownership in the neighborhoods it serves.
ACTS provides financial counseling, real estate brokerage, rehab expertise and – through ACTS Lending Inc. – rehab loans, so that low income families can viably purchase a home and make it safe and livable.
ACTS’ strategy is to generate homeownership opportunities for inner-city residents within a targeted neighborhood so an entire community can be transformed and sustained.
According to Pam Evason, managing director of Windermere Wealth Advisors and the individual who nominated ACTS Housing, the organization is proof that when you combine hardworking families with a team of dedicated real estate professionals, rehab agents and financial counselors, you can achieve great things that have meaningful impact.
The organization has successfully placed more than 1,800 families in homes they own.
Not only do these families save hundreds of dollars a month by paying a mortgage instead of rent, but they also help stabilize previously blighted, vacant and vandalized property throughout Milwaukee’s neighborhoods – thus making the community better as well.
Families can use the money they save on rent to invest in their own life savings and to help make the community even better. And perhaps more importantly, the proud new homeowners can share the news with their friends, family and neighbors, which helps those people realize homeownership may be a possibility for them as well.
The organization has a vision of 60 percent homeownership in the communities
The cost to provide services to families is kept at an absolute minimum to ensure the process is sustainable.
The City of Milwaukee currently owns more than 1,000 homes throughout Milwaukee neighborhoods, but only ACTS Housing has discovered a way to help people purchase and fix up these properties, the organization says.
A recent analysis of ACTS Housing families since 1992 revealed that 94 percent of ACTS homeowners sustained their homeownership either by staying in the same home or by selling the property and moving after years of occupancy.