By Dylan Deprey
Sometimes a house is not a home without a little tender loving care. It gets a little harder to provide some TLC when the houses in a neighborhood are boarded up foreclosures that are vacant and vandalized. After the housing market crashed in 2007 and economic crisis in 2008, foreclosed homes were littered throughout Milwaukee and the rest of the United States.
Whether it was city or bank owned, houses in Milwaukee sat weathered bearing, the longing effects of neglect. While demolishing homes could be easy, credit assistance and home rehabilitation put low-income Milwaukee residents on the path from renting to home ownership.
Associated Bank has recently partnered with ACTS Housing to provide an opportunity for low-income families to purchase foreclosed homes to rehab and renovate throughout the neighborhoods in the City of Milwaukee.
For the past 20 years, ACTS Housing has worked with low-income individuals and families who were denied access to home ownership. They provide specialists trained in credit counseling to assist clients in building their qualifications toward receiving a homeowner’s bank loan.
Then ACTS rehabilitation specialists teach families and individuals how to renovate the property in anything from landscaping to lighting.
Since its foundation in 1992, ACTS has sold over 1,900 properties, helped in rehabilitating over 750 and invested around $129 million.
Jill Wiess, corporate social responsibility manager for Associated Bank, said that Associated Bank made the decision to partner with ACTS Housing in order to help make a positive impact on the communities throughout Milwaukee.
“We look forward to continuing to work together toward a shared vision of creating vibrant Milwaukee neighborhoods through home ownership,” Wiess said.
ACTS Housing has also partnered with other national banks in the including Wells Fargo, US bank, BMO Harris Bank, Northwestern Mutual and Guaranty Bank.
Associated Bank has given $50,000 in building rehab grants as well as $17,500 for other ACTS programs. As of July 6, the partnership has already aided six families into homeowners.
According to ACTS Housing, foreclosed homes in Milwaukee usually cost around the $3,500 mark. Then additional money is needed for repairs, which can include things like roofing, heating and electricity. Repairs can reach up into the tens of thousands of dollars and this is where grants from Associated Bank and ACTS housing help.
Michael Gosman, executive director of ACTS Housing said how much it meant for ACTS Housing to partner with Associated Bank in helping those in the community take a step up the ladder into becoming homeowners.
“Aside from having internal champions at Associated Bank that support ACTS Housing’s work and advocate for our families, the financial support from Associated Bank has made a huge impact,” Gosman said.