"We got a house!" Mayor Barrett highlights efforts to get homeowners into once-vacant homes

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday, February 28th highlighted efforts to get homeowners into once-vacant homes.

Mayor Barrett was joined by representatives from Ocwen Financial Corporation (Ocwen), community leaders and residents to highlight the 2016 results of the partnership between the City of Milwaukee and Ocwen.

"Happy. We just ran up and through the house. Upstairs, downstairs. Upstairs, downstairs. We got a house. We got a house!" Granderson Kimber said.

Granderson Kimber

Kimber on Tuesday reminisced about when he and his family moved into their 53rd Street home in early 2016. It was thanks to the collaboration being celebrated Tuesday on Kimber's front lawn.

"It's a great day to celebrate a house that was previously abandoned off the tax rolls. We got a great new homeowner who loves this neighborhood and is proud to be in this community," Alderman Michael Murphy said.

In 2016, the City of Milwaukee formed a three-year partnership with Ocwen Financial Corporation to get foreclosed, abandoned properties back into circulation.

"We engaged Ocwen and in some ways prodded them and encouraged them, as did Common Ground, to do a significant investment here in the Sherman Park area," Mayor Barrett said.

Ocwen donated Kimber's home to Common Ground, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming struggling communities.

"We find houses that are abandoned and figure out who the owners are. We acquire them, rehab them and then we sell them to homeowners," John Eschun with Common Ground said.

Ocwen also agreed to offer mortgage and loan modification options to struggling borrowers, give $225,000 to the city over three years to support critical home repairs through the STRONG Homes Loan Program, hold face-to-face foreclosure prevention events and donate $200,000 over three years to various Milwaukee based non-profit organizations and community groups to help struggling borrowers and reduce city blight.

"Everybody's excited. Nice neighborhood. Kids go to school. That's a good thing," Kimber said.