City kicks off Homes MKE initiative

$15 million in ARPA funds will go toward rehabbing, reoccupying up to 150 vacant foreclosed city-owned houses

Department of Community Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump addresses gatherers at a press conference for the Homes MKE Kick-Off at 2845 N. 16th St. (Pat Robinson/City of Milwaukee)

About six months after awarding contracts for the program, the City of Milwaukee is ready to put hammers to nails in its efforts to rehabilitate and reoccupy up to 150 vacant and foreclosed city-owned homes.

Dubbed the Homes MKE, the initiative is funded by $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

City officials and community leaders kicked-off the initiative last week with an event in the North Division area of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood, which is among one of the neighborhoods where homes will be renovated.

Those gathered included Department of City Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump and several aldermen, including 15th Dist. Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II. His near-west side district is where the first Homes MKE property will be renovated.

Crump said the initiative aligns with the city’s “mission to improve quality of life in Milwaukee by promoting equitable development that strengthens the urban environment.”

Stamper noted that “Homes MKE will stabilize blocks within neighborhoods and send the message that every part of our city matters,”

In a press release marking the occasion, Mayor Cavalier Johnson applauded the efforts of the Department of City Development and the Common Council in developing partners who will deploy the program, revitalizing vacant residential properties into renovated homes.

“Growing up in Milwaukee, I experienced the effects of housing insecurity like many residents and families currently are,” Johnson said. “Together, we are building stronger neighborhoods, promoting homeownership, and working to ensure every Milwaukeean has access to the quality, affordable housing they need.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin said she was proud to see the city using its ARPA resources to “deliver more affordable housing opportunities to its residents, transforming abandoned properties into future homes.”

“This investment will create good-paying jobs in the trades, expand high quality affordable housing inventory, and help create a stronger Milwaukee,” Baldwin said.

“The American Rescue Plan Act was a meaningful investment in our communities and gave cities and municipalities the flexibility to use these funds to address vital needs. The Homes MKE initiative will expand access to affordable housing, create jobs, and help make homeownership a reality for more of my constituents,” said U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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