The Milwaukee Common Council on Wednesday gave its final blessing to a plan by Alderman Joe Davis, Sr. to redirect $1,000,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding from City of Milwaukee agencies directly to community organizations, initiatives and groups that support them.
Alderman Davis, the chair of the council’s Community and Economic Development Committee, said the reallocation is crucial to supporting programs that address the root causes of crime and violence in the city. “This isn’t a problem that is confined to any one neighborhood,” Alderman Davis said. “This is a Milwaukee problem, and only by addressing the city’s economic and educational disparities can we begin to treat this systemic crime and violence.”
On a 6-9 vote, the Common Council on Wednesday rejected reconsideration of a July 23 vote in favor of Alderman Davis’s plan. Prior to Davis’s amendment in the Community and Economic Development Committee, the Community Development Grants Administration called for allocating $6.4 million of the $14 million in 2014 federal CDBG funds to city services.
The amendment diverts $1,000,000 of that allocation to support community based organizations, including $500,000 to the Milwaukee Promise/Black Male Achievement initiative, an additional $235,000 to Neighborhood Strategic Planning, $190,000 to Be the Change and an additional $75,000 for CDBG Entitlement Allocation Capacity Building-Technical Assistance to CBOs.
In a related measure, the Common Council on Wednesday appointed the final eight members to the 13-member Black Male Achievement Advisory Council, which will explore best practices and make recommendations to the Common Council on the issue of long-term economic growth in the city’s distressed areas.
Alderman Davis and Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, who has also been a supporter of the initiative since its inception, were among the appointees.
“The successful reallocation of this funding and the launch of the Black Male Achievement Advisory Council are two solid steps toward addressing the serious issues that are holding back the City of Milwaukee,” Alderman Davis said.