By Hayley Crandall
The Community Development Alliance (CDA) announced in a press release last week that it is partnering with the City of Milwaukee to create a citywide strategy aimed at increasing equitable access for residents to affordable housing.
According to a press release from the CDA, affordable housing gaps faced by many Milwaukee residents have stemmed from the impacts of systemic inequalities. Black families in Milwaukee have the second-lowest homeownership rate in the nation, according to a report from the African American Leadership Alliance MKE.
Housing challenges can affect many factors of life for Milwaukee residents, Gina Stilp, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation and chair of the Community Development Alliance explained in the release. She believes this city has a ‘unique’ situation that needs to be addressed.
“Housing stability is not a standalone issue; it plays a role in so many other quality of life indicators, including employment and overall health and well-being. Milwaukee has a unique housing problem in need of a solution,” Stilp said. “We’ve recognized there is an opportunity to convene partners across the city as part of a shared strategy, goals and accountability. Together, we’re identifying how we can collectively create sustained and meaningful impact for Milwaukee residents.”
In order to really address the problems at hand, the CDA team reviewed data and research from a variety of sources to establish areas of priority, according to the release.
Four main focuses were identified:
• Address the Black and Hispanic ownership gap by producing additional units, highlight homeownership and assisting residents with purchasing.
• Maintain current Black and Hispanic homeowners through anti-displacement and preservation programs.
• Increase supply of affordable housing units for residents making between $7.25 to $15 per hour.
• Identify how to preserve existing residential units for those making between $7.25 to $15 per hour, including battling displacement and reducing eviction.
Housing development has been pinpointed as an area that is in need of more financial support, according to a recent study from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, with 54% of respondents citing it as top priority.
Funding members consists of the City of Milwaukee, Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Zilber Family Foundation.
Members of the CDA have already been linked to housing efforts at various levels, according to the press release, and this shared strategy shoots to maximize efforts in order to achieve a more ‘coordinated’ impact in Milwaukee.
Lafayette Crump, commissioner of City Development for Milwaukee, said in the release that the Department of City Development is excited to be working with the collection of partners towards finding a strategy benefiting the outlined housing situation.
“Mayor Barrett has made housing stability and equity a priority,” said Crump in the release. “The Department of City Development is thrilled to be working with other City departments, Community Development Alliance and its partners to finalize a strategy and implementation to increase and entrench opportunities for all residents to live affordably and safely while building a secure financial future for themselves and their families.”
Part of this process includes the CDA restructuring to feature an executive committee, program committee and funder’s council to drive progress, assuring accountability. Members of these committees include resident liaisons and CDA funding members’ representatives.
The strategy is still currently in the works, according to the press release, as the CDA continues to collect and utilize current data. Once finalized, execution of the plan is set to begin in 2022.