Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity

Nonprofit Excellence Awards

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity seeks to revitalize Milwaukee neighborhoods.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity seeks to revitalize Milwaukee neighborhoods.

FINALIST

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
3726 N. Booth St., Milwaukee

Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to revitalizing Milwaukee neighborhoods and providing sustainable, safe communities for Milwaukee families.

According to Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, the organization takes a holistic approach to its mission by providing affordable housing and also community sustainability and development work.

Habitat’s efforts in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood have increased homeownership to 90 percent on some blocks and have decreased violent crime in the neighborhood by 30 percent.

In April, Associated Banc-Corp purchased $2 million in residential loans and mortgages from Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in order to help the organization focus on using the funds to provide support and resources for the community.

In order to become a Habitat homeowner, partner families must go through a screening process and are required to put up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” into their homes.

Sweat equity also includes a financial education component to ensure families are ready for the challenges of balancing day-to-day expenses with monthly mortgage payments, as well as a community engagement requirement, so the families have a better understanding of the neighborhood in which they will live.

“While our homes provide stability and security for our partner families, our families’ quality of life ultimately depends on the stability and security of their entire neighborhood,” Sonderman said.

The organization recently received a Habitat for Humanity International recognition as an “Affiliate of Distinction.” The Affiliates of Distinction program was established by Habitat for Humanity to honor those Habitat affiliates that meet or exceed best practice standards and to collect, showcase and recognize the exemplary efforts of these affiliates.

Habitat for Humanity staff and a base of more than 6,000 volunteers from the community have built more than 550 new homes, repaired more than 250 existing homes and served more than 800 families in neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee.

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