By PrincessSafiya Byers
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
VIA Community Development Corporation and the Milwaukee Community Land Trust have announced the completion of Milwaukee’s first North Side community land trust homes.
Lamont Davis, the executive director of the Milwaukee Community Land Trust, said the goal of the partnership with VIA CDC is to create affordable homes. The homes will be sold to lower-income buyers.
“This method sells the homes for under-market value and ensures the homes stay affordable in the years to come,” he said.
Four homes in the Amani neighborhood have been renovated with roof replacements, updated wiring and plumbing, a new HVAC system and new furnace and water heaters. Leaders, who announced the program last month, hope residents who live in the area will purchase the properties.
‘Homeownership is the foundation’
“Studies show that homeownership improves the overall quality of life for families. It leads to increased graduation rates and reduces crime,” said JoAnna Bautch, VIA CDC’s executive director. “That is why at VIA we believe homeownership is the foundation of strengthening our neighborhoods.”
VIA started its turnkey program, which transforms vacant properties into fully renovated homes, in 2008 in response to the foreclosure crisis. By the end of 2023, it will have renovated 33 properties.
In December, the partners cut the ribbon on the first South Side home. The homes in Amani actually represent the second, third, fourth and fifth homes available through the community land trust model. Community land trusts offer programs that allow people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford property a way to buy and maintain homes.
The groups hope their efforts will become a model that will help fill the affordable housing gap for Black and Brown families in Milwaukee.
Through partnerships with the Dominican Center, Walnut Way, Take Root Milwaukee, United Methodist Children Services, Milwaukee Christian Center, JobsWorks, 30th Street Industrial Corridor and the Community Development Alliance, the Milwaukee Community Land Trust aims to develop and sell 40 homes by 2025. The Milwaukee Community Land Trust helps families become homeowners.
Additional subsidies for the projects were provided by the Zilber Family Foundation, Northwestern Mutual, Otto Bremer Trust, LISC Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Associated Bank.
Davis said the homes are being sold by the Milwaukee Community Land Trust. If they are not purchased in 90 days, they will be sold by VIA CDC, he said.
For more information
• If you are interested in buying from the Milwaukee Community Land Trust, you can take a survey to see if you qualify. If you do, you can apply on its website.
• Qualified applicants will meet with a Milwaukee Community Land Trust representative and attend homebuyer counseling, Once that is completed you are able to start the homebuying process.
• For more information, you can check out VIA CDC’s website or the Milwaukee Community Land Trust’s.