Jeramey Jannene

Habitat Building 9 Homes On 1 City Block

Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff will help, part of larger effort to build 80 houses in Harambee neighborhood.

By - May 17th, 2023 04:35 pm
The 3000 block of N. 6th St. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

The 3000 block of N. 6th St. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Residents of one Harambee block will need to grow accustomed to the sound of hammers and saws this summer, but once the dust settles they’ll have a host of new neighbors.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is working to build nine new houses on the 3000 block of N. 6th St. It’s part of the 80 homes the organization announced in 2021 it plans to build in the near northside neighborhood.

Those keeping a close eye on the action might have noticed some unusual volunteers last week: six mascots and one all-star pitcher.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff was joined by Bernie Brewer and the five Racing Sausages last week to work on one house that first-time homebuyer and mother Hsa Yu will own upon completion.

“As a parent, I appreciate how important it is to have a stable place to call home,” said Woodruff at the event. “The work that Habitat is doing to help moms like Hsa Yu become a homeowner is vital, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

First-time homebuyers get financial counseling and work alongside volunteers to build their future homes. The resulting mortgage costs $600 to $900 per month.

Each house Habitat constructs in the neighborhood will be two stories tall with three to four bedrooms and 1,200 to 1,400 square feet of living space.

Habitat relies on up to 3,000 volunteers per year to build its homes. The Brewers Community Foundation is a longstanding partner, with Woodruff replacing the retired Ryan Braun. Woodruff was joined last Tuesday by representatives of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.

In 2021, Habitat and lead sponsor Bader Philanthropies announced a plan to create a supply of owner-occupied, affordable housing in a neighborhood with a 22% homeownership rate, several vacant lots and an existing housing stock in need of repairs. The median household income was $19,300.

The organization reports constructing 29 new homes in the neighborhood in the past two years. It intends to construct 11 more this year. In addition to building new homes, the organization also works to rehabilitate existing houses.

The city is selling the lots for $1 to Habitat and has also contributed funding via its Housing Trust Fund.

Habitat’s prior Midtown 100 initiative resulted in the construction of 61 homes, substantial rehabilitation of seven homes and 32 homes receiving critical repairs. A similar program in the Washington Park neighborhood saw a 40% reduction in crime on the streets after the new homes were built.

Midtown and Harambee aren’t the only neighborhoods on Habitat’s radar. The organization is partnering with the Community Development Alliance to build 80 homes near King Park, just west of Interstate 43 and Downtown.

Harambee continues to see a wave of investment. Three blocks east of the house Woodruff worked on, a new King Library is rising as part of a mixed-use development and two developers are vying to acquire a city-owned site for use in developing a new affordable housing complex. Eight blocks south, in an area commonly branded as Bronzeville, several more projects are underway including ThriveOn King and Melissa Allen‘s Bronzeville Estates development.


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One thought on “Habitat Building 9 Homes On 1 City Block”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    Dan Bader and company deserve high praise for all they do to improve our city. Here’s to you Dan!

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