Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation
Press Release

New “MLK Homes” Initiative seeks increase own-occupancy in the Harambee Neighborhood

The MLK Homes initiative builds upon MLKEDC’s successful history of housing development over the past 20 years.

Nicole Robbins. Photo courtesy of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation.

Nicole Robbins. Photo courtesy of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation.

Milwaukee, November 7, 2018– Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation (MLKEDC) has announced a new program, “MLK Homes”, designed to purchase and rehabilitate single-family homes and duplexes in order to resell these properties to owner-occupants in the Harambee neighborhood. Properties will include both market rate and subsidized, or “affordable” investments. The MLK Homes initiative builds upon MLKEDC’s successful history of housing development over the past 20 years in a targeted area adjacent to Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

Through MLK Homes, MLKEDC will also take an active role in managing the overall housing market in the Harambee neighborhood by facilitating sales to owner-occupants and providing support to existing property owners.

Nicole Robbins was hired to lead the initiative. A licensed attorney, Robbins has an extensive background in law and real estate, representing clients in real estate, corporate, regulatory, environmental, municipal and litigation matters.  Robbins holds a Wisconsin Real Estate License, a B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University, a J.D. from University of Wisconsin Law School, and a certificate from the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program.

“MLK Homes is a very tailored strategy that will consider the best fits for properties and people. I’m excited to put my real estate and legal experience to work, while building relationships with current and potential home-owners in the community,” said Nicole Robbins, Housing and Real Estate Development Director for MLKEDC.

MLK Homes is funded, in-part, by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Milwaukee (LISC Milwaukee), with federal funding from Housing and Urban Development Section IV.

“LISC looks for innovative and impactful models for our investments, and the MKE Homes promises both. It builds on MLKEDC’s rich history of physical development in the neighborhood, while addressing the current and pressing need to mitigate displacement of current residents as downtown development reaches the adjacent neighborhoods,” said LISC’s Executive Director, Donsia Strong Hill.

This work complements other initiatives including the recently established Harambee Neighborhood Improvement District (NID), which provides rehab financing for existing owner-occupants (http://www.hgnimke.org/nid), and plans by Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity to target the Harambee neighborhood for housing development as part of their Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative beginning in 2021 (https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2017/07/20/habitat-for-humanity-targets-midtown-harambee/).

Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation

The Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation (“MLKEDC”) is a neighborhood-based, nonprofit development organization, established in 1993, which works to improve conditions in the Harambee community, a low-income neighborhood in the City of Milwaukee.  Since its founding, MLKEDC has developed, and currently owns and manages, a portfolio of 193 affordable housing units, plus 63,800 sq. ft. of retail and office space that provide goods and services to the surrounding community, with a total development cost of over $60 million.

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