Proposal Would Fund Emergency Housing
City-owned properties would house displaced families, human trafficking victims. Plus: committee cuts Bublr funding.
A budget amendment introduced by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis would have the city redevelop 10 units from the hundreds of properties it has acquired through property-tax foreclosure as temporary housing for city residents.
Lewis told the Finance & Personnel Committee she was drawn to the issue after learning of families who were displaced after members tested high for blood-lead levels, requiring in-home abatement work.
“It got me thinking, we have a housing stock, why not produce an emergency place for these people to go?” said Lewis. She said the targeted properties would be multi-family buildings.
The $300,000 program would be funded by reducing the corresponding amount of borrowing planned to be used to purchase new squad cars for the Milwaukee Police Department.
A total of $3,495,000 would remain for squad car replacement. But budget director Dennis Yaccarino warned that amount would likely be too low to replace the department’s goal of 60 squad cars per year.
The organization provides hotel vouchers to families in need of emergency housing, but said some families are rejected by the hotels for damaging property or having too many people. Kirkendoll said the need is so great that the program would not have a major impact on the community’s needs.
Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II backed the program on the understanding that the program could also be used for housing for women picked up during prostitution stings who are identified as victims of human trafficking.
The emergency housing proposal was passed as part of a larger omnibus amendment that included funding for a lead-safe kit program for mothers leaving the hospital (Birthing Moms pilot project), a $20,000 trauma informed care marketing campaign, a healthy food access coordinator, additional staffing for street sweeping and plow operators in the Department of Public Works, $300,000 to support funding the Office of Violence Prevention’s violence interrupters programs, and creating a $100,000 fund for participatory budgeting regarding violence prevention.
The omnibus proposal, which still must be heard by the full Common Council next week, was passed on a four-to-one vote. Ald. Michael Murphy voted in opposition. “There are some things in here I don’t like, some things in here I do,” said Murphy.
Bublr Bikes Funding Cut
The omnibus proposal also slashed the city’s operational support for Bublr Bikes from $110,000 to $0 and split that money to provide $55,000 for garbage cans at Stamper’s request and $55,000 to support the implementation of recommendations from Murphy’s reckless driving taskforce.
A budget amendment last year provided the same support for Bublr as the non-profit attempted to scale up and find a presenting sponsor. It was promised by city officials as a one-time commitment.
The city owns a number of bike-sharing stations, as do Wauwatosa, West Allis and Shorewood, that it contracts with the non-profit to operate. According to last year’s amendment, a 15-dock station with eight bikes costs $17,000 a year to operate.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Jeff Polenske said that Wauwatosa and West Allis have already affirmed their 2020 funding commitments and Shorewood was working through its commitment. He said the funding would support the system’s adaptive bike program and training program while the city, through a federal grant, adds more stations in 2020.
“They basically lied,” said Stamper about Bublr’s inclusion in the 2020 budget. “You’re defending liars.”
“I will definitely go on record saying I’m disappointed in the Bublr transition,” said Lewis. “We had a conversation over a year ago that it would expand to the far northwest side.”
Murphy said he supports the system, but thought they could find a corporate sponsor. He criticized officials from DPW and Bublr for not reaching out in the past year.
Bublr Bikes executive director James Davies was present but did not speak.
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More about the 2020 Milwaukee Budget
- City Hall: Council Overrides Every Barrett Veto - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 26th, 2019
- City Hall: Barrett Issues 8 Budget Vetoes - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 19th, 2019
- This afternoon the City of Milwaukee just got less safe - Ald. Bob Donovan - Nov 8th, 2019
- City Hall: Council Cuts Police, Adopts $1.6 Billion Budget - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 8th, 2019
- City Hall: Proposal Uses Lead Abatement Funds for Marketing - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 7th, 2019
- Transportation: Street Safety Funding Passes Committee - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 6th, 2019
- Omnibus budget amendment supports birthing moms pilot, violence interrupters, participatory budget initiative and more - Ald. Milele Coggs - Nov 1st, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Proposal Would Fund Emergency Housing - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 31st, 2019
- City Hall: Proposal Gives Residents a Basic Income - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 31st, 2019
- City Hall: Community Outpouring Over City Budget - Isiah Holmes - Oct 14th, 2019
- Mayor Barrett’s 2020 Budget cuts 60 police officers – and that’s the good news - Ald. Bob Donovan - Oct 10th, 2019
- City Hall: State Republican Lawmakers Oppose Barrett’s Budget - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 7th, 2019
- Budget Deliberations Should Focus on Using the People’s Dollars to Improve and Save Lives - Ald. Milele Coggs - Oct 4th, 2019
- The challenges and opportunities of the 2020 city budget - Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton - Sep 30th, 2019
- Disappointing budget increases taxes, relies on sales tax pipe dream - Ald. Nikiya Dodd - Sep 24th, 2019
- Mayor’s budget cuts deep, fall short - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Sep 24th, 2019
- City Hall: Mayor’s Budget Cuts Cops and Property Tax Rate - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 24th, 2019
- City Hall: Tax Hike Would Give City $50 Million Per Year - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 9th, 2019
- City Hall: Barrett Kicks Off 2020 Budget Process - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 16th, 2019