New Programs Target Lindsay Heights

City's forgivable loans and non-profit's volunteer workers will both help North Side residents repair their homes.

By , Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service - Jun 3rd, 2014 09:56 am
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Erin Goff, project and logistics manager at Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee, talks with Lindsay Heights residents about home improvement programs. (Photo by Karen Stokes)

Erin Goff, project and logistics manager at Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee, talks with Lindsay Heights residents about home improvement programs. (Photo by Karen Stokes)

A re-launched city program that provides no-interest forgivable loans for home repair.

A $100,000 grant to Neu-Life Community Development.

A nonprofit program that deploys volunteers to rehab homes for elderly and disabled people.

Together, these investments are expected to boost the quality of life for residents of the Lindsay Heights community.

Untitled-copy-450x273The Lindsay Heights TID loan fund allows residents to apply for zero interest, forgivable loans of up to $10,000 to make repairs on their homes. If the owner complies with the loan terms, it is fully forgiven after five years. In the first five months of 2014, 32 residents applied for the loans.

According to Sam Leichtling, program director of the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corp.(NIDC), a TID (Tax Incremental District) is a special financing tool that enables the city to borrow against the growth of the tax base in order to create a pool of loan funds.

The Lindsay Heights fund, originally created in 2001, helped more than 180 community members repair and build their homes, Leichtling said. The Milwaukee Common Council allocated $600,000 to re-launch the program, which began taking applications in February. Prior to the re-launch, funds last were available through the Lindsay Heights TID loan fund in 2008.

“In the initial six months, funds are limited to Lindsay Heights residents over 62 years of age and homeowners who need emergency repairs,” Leichtling said. He added that on Aug. 1, the program will be opened to all homeowners who have not previously received assistance through the TID loan fund.

Homeowners taking part in the program receive an “Investing in Lindsay Heights” yard sign.

“The signs exhibit that the city invests in the neighborhood and residents invest in the community,” Leichtling said. “It reminds people that there are resources to help.”

Residents of Lindsay Heights also are eligible to participate in a program that uses skilled and unskilled volunteers to repair single-family homes for low-income elderly, veterans and disabled homeowners.

“We want to keep seniors in their homes,” said Erin Goff, program manager at Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee (RTGM) a non-profit affiliated with a national organization. “Our concerns are safety, security and independence of the homeowner.”

According to Goff, if a home is chosen as a project site, all repairs are completed free of charge. The program requires that an able-bodied family member participate along with volunteers to make repairs.

A major remodeling project at Neu-Life Community Development, 2014 W. North Ave., got a recent boost from the Zilber Family Foundation, which awarded the organization a $100,000 grant to renovate its facilities for youth and family programming and make them accessible to people with disabilities.

The grant will help Neu-Life launch its first capital campaign. The organization serves an average of 200 youth per day at three sites, and has occupied the North Avenue building for 14 years.

Renovations will include new program space for a computer and homework lab, an arts room with a music studio and dance rehearsal space, a test kitchen area for cooking programs and food storage, and a room designed for youth to create and display art. In addition, structural improvements will be made to HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems.

“The renovations will allow us to provide an invigorating space for our young people to develop the social, emotional and creative skills they need to make good life choices,” said Joann Harris-Comodore, chief executive officer of Neu-Life. “We plan to stay in our building and be a part of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood for decades to come.”

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

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