120 New Homes for King Park Neighborhood
County, CDA select Emem Group and Habitat as developers.
A Milwaukee County project to develop 120 new, affordable homes in the King Park neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee is moving forward.
In February, Gov. Tony Evers announced that Milwaukee County would receive $10.5 million from the state’s ARPA allocation. The county is planning to use $6.5 million to develop 120 new single-family homes on currently vacant lots in the neighborhood and $1.5 million for the rehabilitation of the King Park Community Center.
The ARPA funds will be used to fill the cost gap between building a new house versus the eventual purchase price. “Without ARPA funds, you wouldn’t be able to make these affordable,” said James Mathy, Housing Division director, in an interview. The new, three-bedroom homes will cost approximately $190,000 to build and be sold for $110,000 or less. The Habitat homes (80) will be immediately sold, while the Emem houses (40) will be leased for a period of 15 years at affordable rates through the low-income housing tax credit program before being sold.
The homes will be marketed to Black and minority first-time homebuyers. The homeownership gap between white and Black Milwaukeeans is among the worst in the nation when compared to peer cities, according to a report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum. The project is another that fits into the county’s strategic plan to achieve racial equity.
This will be the first “project of scale” that directly tackles homeownership, Mathy said. The project is also one of a series of major investments the county is making in the neighborhood.
The county recently opened the new Mental Health Emergency Center at 1525 N. 12th St. The $12 million facility was developed in partnership with Ascension Wisconsin, Advocate Aurora Health, Froedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin. The new emergency center is part of a long-term overhaul of mental health system in Milwaukee County and was critical to the closure of the Mental Health Complex in Wauwatosa.
The Milwaukee County Board also recently approved $32.3 million in county ARPA funding for a new $42 million human services building that will be constructed on the site of the current Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Building. Early plans indicate the Coggs building will need to be razed to make way for the new development.
CDA released a report in September 2021 that calls for 32,000 new Black and Latino homeowners across 30 years and identifies gaps within Milwaukee’s current housing marketplace for both owner-occupants and renters. CDA reports that 40% of Milwaukee’s inventory of homes valued at $125,000 or less are now owned by investors. An earlier report from the Marquette University Law School found that since 2005 the number of single-family and duplex houses owned by out-of-state landlords in Milwaukee has quadrupled.
The initial CDA report found that in the Milwaukee area white residents are twice as likely to own their home as Black residents and 1.4 times more likely than Latino residents.
Jeramey Jannene contributed to this report
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