Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City to Sell 19 Lots for Habitat Homes

Committee okays selling vacant lots for $1 each, to create new owner-occupied homes.

By - Jan 14th, 2020 01:04 pm
The future site of a Habitat home at 3459 N. 3rd St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The future site of a Habitat home at 3459 N. 3rd St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity‘s campaign to build 40 new homes in the Harambee neighborhood took a step forward Tuesday.

The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee approved selling 19 lots to the non-profit for $1 each.

The lots are located in an eight-block cluster between W. Keefe Ave., N. 1st St., W. Townsend St. and N. 3rd St.

Habitat construction manager Chris Garrison said the organization will build eight homes in Harambee in 2020 and nine in 2021 as part of a five-year campaign.

The homes, which range in size from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet, include up to four bedrooms. Owners pay $85,000 to $90,000 for the properties after putting 250 hours of “sweat equity” into the project, including financial literacy training.

“We are never going to feel done anywhere,” said Garrison, but the organization is seeing success by clustering its work. Over the next two years it will wrap up a program to build or repair 100 homes in the city’s Midtown neighborhood. Habitat reports a 225-home Washington Park campaign resulted in a 46 percent reduction in crime on blocks where homes were built.

Area Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs praised Habitat for focusing on the area in a strategic fashion. “This area of Harambee, during my tenure, we’ve probably invested the most in housing stock, but you see it the least,” said the three-term alderwoman.

Garrison said the organization seeks to build multiple homes on the same block for efficiency with construction and so new homeowners aren’t the only one on the block.

“I also want to say thank you to Bader Philanthropies because it’s with their $1 million contribution most of these houses are able to get built.” Habitat and Bader, which recently relocated its headquarters to the neighborhood, gathered with community stakeholders to announce the gift on December 19th.

Bader’s gift will also fund critical repairs to 20 owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood. Bader and Habitat will host community meetings with more information said Garrison, but potential participants are also encouraged to apply to Habitat directly.

Habitat selected Harambee following an application from the Riverworks Development Corporation. Since launching locally in 1984, the organization has constructed over 500 homes.

The land sale must next be approved by the full Common Council.

The city is also contributing $50,000 to the project through the Housing Trust Fund.


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Related Legislation: File 191410

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