Barrett unveils affordable housing initiative

Mayor calls for 10,000 affordable housing units in the next decade

During his annual State of the City address today, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called for the construction of 10,000 affordable housing units, especially in and around downtown, over the next 10 years.

SEVEN04 Place is an affordable housing apartment currently under construction in Walker’s Point.

Since about 2013, developers have been building numerous apartment buildings downtown, filling a void left in the market by the 2002 to 2008 condominium boom, followed by five years of no multifamily construction because of the Great Recession.

One of the staples of this downtown apartment boom has been high-end apartments targeted to millennials and baby boomers. The stretch from South Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View to North Water Street in downtown Milwaukee has boomed with five- and six-story apartment buildings lining the street.

Barrett said Monday, he wants to work with private developers to make sure downtown is not exclusively for people with higher incomes.

“I am ready to commit significant tax incremental financing to incentivize the creation of thousands of affordable housing units over the next decade,” Barrett said. “While those units can be located anywhere in Milwaukee, I’m especially interested in seeing more affordable housing in the heart of the city. Growing affordable units in these areas will make it easier for workers to get to nearby jobs.”

Typically the city does not use TIF for residential developments downtown. However, the city has provided financing for some housing projects including the 90-unit Germania building, which has about 50 percent of its units for lower income residents, and 50 percent for moderate-income residents.

SEVEN04 Place, a 60-unit affordable-housing development at 704 W. National Ave. in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, which includes  46 units of affordable housing for working families, and another 14 units dedicated to permanent supportive housing for military veterans and other adults who have struggled with housing is also receiving financing from the city.

Besides using TIF money, Barrett also wants to expand the STRONG Home Loans Program, a city program that issues partially forgivable loans for home repair. Barrett said one partner is already committed. “Associated Bank has agreed to purchase a significant portion of our STRONG Homes Loan portfolio, which means we hope to add approximately $1.5 million to the funds available to help people stay in their homes,” he said.

“As rents continue to be a challenge, home ownership can be a smart financial decision for low- and moderate-income families,” Barrett said. “So, we will create new paths to home ownership. And we will improve housing opportunities by helping families make the repairs they need to preserve their homes.”

During his annual State of the City address today, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called for the construction of 10,000 affordable housing units, especially in and around downtown, over the next 10 years.

SEVEN04 Place is an affordable housing apartment currently under construction in Walker’s Point.

Since about 2013, developers have been building numerous apartment buildings downtown, filling a void left in the market by the 2002 to 2008 condominium boom, followed by five years of no multifamily construction because of the Great Recession.

One of the staples of this downtown apartment boom has been high-end apartments targeted to millennials and baby boomers. The stretch from South Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View to North Water Street in downtown Milwaukee has boomed with five- and six-story apartment buildings lining the street.

Barrett said Monday, he wants to work with private developers to make sure downtown is not exclusively for people with higher incomes.

“I am ready to commit significant tax incremental financing to incentivize the creation of thousands of affordable housing units over the next decade,” Barrett said. “While those units can be located anywhere in Milwaukee, I’m especially interested in seeing more affordable housing in the heart of the city. Growing affordable units in these areas will make it easier for workers to get to nearby jobs.”

Typically the city does not use TIF for residential developments downtown. However, the city has provided financing for some housing projects including the 90-unit Germania building, which has about 50 percent of its units for lower income residents, and 50 percent for moderate-income residents.

SEVEN04 Place, a 60-unit affordable-housing development at 704 W. National Ave. in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, which includes  46 units of affordable housing for working families, and another 14 units dedicated to permanent supportive housing for military veterans and other adults who have struggled with housing is also receiving financing from the city.

Besides using TIF money, Barrett also wants to expand the STRONG Home Loans Program, a city program that issues partially forgivable loans for home repair. Barrett said one partner is already committed. “Associated Bank has agreed to purchase a significant portion of our STRONG Homes Loan portfolio, which means we hope to add approximately $1.5 million to the funds available to help people stay in their homes,” he said.

“As rents continue to be a challenge, home ownership can be a smart financial decision for low- and moderate-income families,” Barrett said. “So, we will create new paths to home ownership. And we will improve housing opportunities by helping families make the repairs they need to preserve their homes.”

Comments

  1. The Sheriff says:

    IE STRONG Home Loans….

    Is Pyramax getting out since so many people who were given loans already defaulted?

    And does this mean the city will actually vet people before giving them a loan to keep them in their homes? Some people who are menaces to their neighbors were given these loans to allow them to stay in their homes and keep ruining the neighborhood. A house that the police visit multiple times a month, with multiple known residing felons living there and not one person in the home working, should NOT be given loans/grants to stay in their homes.

  2. The Sheriff says:

    I have no idea why Mayor Barrett thinks the next logical step for Milwaukee is to provide 10,000 new affordable housing units around the downtown area when there aren’t 20,000 new jobs for those same people to fill when the move into that area. The new housing units created in the last 5-8 years have been for the people who ALREADY work in Milwaukee or are new employed in Milwaukee to live closer to where they work, and those people are paying a premium to live in a desirable area of town. Now you want to flood the area with “affordable housing”. Honestly…these people want nothing to do with living near the same people who require affordable housing and I can’t blame them in the slightest.

    Milwaukee has all the “affordable housing” it needs right now. What Milwaukee really needs are jobs for these people, not housing closer to people who already have the skills/jobs necessary for today’s world…

  3. Royce says:

    Affordable housing is a bad idea. It restricts optimal use of land for political interests. It prevents developers from truly utilizing properties and providing ample supply to an area. Look at how much damage affordable housing initiatives are doing to rent prices in the San Francisco area!

    What actually does work is deregulation. Get out of the way of development and let supply quickly increase. As supply increases faster than demand, prices are forced to drop. Trying to manipulate markets through policy rarely, if ever, works as intended.

    • The Sheriff says:

      Did you really just try and make an argument about affordable housing in Milwaukee and try tying that back to San Francisco area?

      Yeah…you lose badly