Mayor Barrett to commit grant funds to foreclosure issue

MILWAUKEE (WITI) – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has announced his plans to commit significant resources from the Community Development Block Grant Fund to solve the city’s housing crisis. The total amount that will be reprogrammed comes to approximately $2.3 million dollars, with a majority of the funds allocated toward housing projects. Considerable funds will also be designated to improving the city’s employment, environmental sustainability, quality of life and opportunities for Milwaukee youth.

Resources will be distributed to city departments and community organizations for the purposes of: demolishing foreclosed homes, transitioning current renters to property owners, providing financial counseling to new home buyers, rehabilitating rented properties occupied by low-income residents, restoring distressed or foreclosed properties, distributing loans for housing repair and constructing new residential units in Milwaukee.

Mayor Barrett announced his plans on Milwaukee’s north side at a recently purchased, city-owned home scheduled to close next week. Mayor Barrett stressed the major impact quality housing standards have on the city’s economic prosperity and quality of life.

“The dimensions of this problem are big,” Mayor Barrett said. “Obviously the lives of individuals and families are disrupted, neighborhoods are hurt by problem properties and downward pressure on home values and the drain on city resources – and taxpayers’ dollars – are very serious.”

In 2008, the financial crisis and economic recession aggravated an increase in housing foreclosures in Milwaukee. To address this problem, Mayor Barrett created the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative (MFPI), which was lauded nationally and boasts a series of notable accomplishments. The current Community Development Block Grant dollars will continue MFPI’s efforts to combat the effects of foreclosed homes and maintain healthy housing standards.

“Milwaukee has been a leader in addressing the impacts of the foreclosure crisis,” the Mayor said. “Our efforts aimed at prevention, intervention and stabilization have lessened the damage.  Our work has received national recognition – and earned Milwaukee additional federal resources to continue the work. We are not letting up. There is plenty of work to do. And we will not allow the continuing foreclosure issues undermine the fundamental strength of Milwaukee and its neighborhoods.”

The financial breakdown of the $2,375,561 in reprogramming dollars is as follows: