Matching grants transform homes in Layton Boulevard West

With financial support from a host of community partners, the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors helped residents of Milwaukee’s Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park neighborhoods invest nearly $155,000 into home improvement efforts in 2013.


Thanks to matching grants from the Zilber Family Foundation, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, LBWN distributed funds among neighborhood residents eager to transform their properties and revitalize their surroundings.

Through a one-page application process, the nonprofit organization awarded individual homeowners, landlords and tenants an average of $500 to $1,000, which they were required to match with their own funds or loan dollars.

Forty six neighbors received matching grants in 2013, which they contributed toward new roofs, porches, windows and foundation work among other improvement projects.

Many participating neighbors far exceeded the matching dollar requirement. LBWN awarded more than $29,000 in matching grants to property owners and leveraged an aggregate home improvement investment of close to $155,000.

“It’s a strategy that has worked really well and really incentivized people to be doing work on their house,” said Brianna Sas-Perez, community outreach manager at LBWN.

That collective $155,000 was part of a broader neighborhood investment total of $718,000 in Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park neighborhoods last year as LBWN collaborated with the City of Milwaukee and other community partners on other revitalization initiatives.

Matching grants are still available for each neighborhood this year, according to Sas-Perez, who also hopes to see this kind of home improvement initiative replicated in other parts of the city.

In those neighborhoods where matching grants were implemented last year, LBWN has noticed a “ripple effect” of revitalization and pride among residents, she said.

“I think it just kind of spreads to nearby neighbors, and they’re motivated to do similar investments on their homes,” Sas-Perez said.

LBWN is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes community partners and residents in Layton Boulevard West to promote neighborhood revitalization through leadership development, economic development, and home rehabilitation and ownership.

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