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Milwaukee County Exec. approves $1 million for affordable housing

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Milwaukee County Exec. approves $1 million for affordable housing

Feb 28, 2024 | 5:04 am ET
By Isiah Holmes
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Milwaukee County Exec. approves $1 million for affordable housing
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Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley featured at a Milwaukee Press Club luncheon. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley approved $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding Monday to  develop new affordable and emergency housing opportunities for residents in the city’s Uptown Neighborhood.

“As we keep working to expand affordable housing options across Milwaukee County, we must ensure that people experiencing emergency housing situations and dealing with trauma can access the help and support they need,” Crowley said in a statement. “This is a meaningful development project that will bring together critical services to ‘bridge the gap’ between housing insecurity and behavioral health needs,” he added. Crowley expressed hope that the new funds  will allow equitable, quality, affordable housing opportunities to flourish in Milwaukee, contributing  toward the county’s goal of being the healthiest in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said officials are committed to addressing local housing challenges. “By integrating supportive services with affordable-rate housing, we’re pooling our resources in a way that will help the people who need it most,” Nicholson said in a statement.

Real estate prices in Uptown, according to Neighborhood Scout, are less expensive than 81.1% of Wisconsin neighborhoods. Meanwhile, rents are lower than in more than half of Wisconsin neighborhoods.  The area is full of nearly 100-year-old homes with three and four bedrooms. There are also many  vacant properties in the neighborhood, which city officials have worked to cut down on in recent years.

A 41-unit affordable housing project is underway in the neighborhood under construction by KG Development Group. The project  will include 20 dedicated crisis housing beds for people in need of emergency housing. The rest of the beds will be used for affordable housing, with eight of those 21 units receiving project-based vouchers from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

“This project is an example of multiple DHHS service areas working collaboratively to ensure there is ‘no wrong door’ to accessing person-centered care, addressing root causes, and a strong investment in community health,” said Shakita LaGrant-McClain, DHHS Executive Director. “I would like to commend our team in Housing Services and Behavioral Health Services for their commitment to our residents and work to advance our vision of, together, creating healthy communities.”

The project will be the first in Wisconsin to merge crisis beds, supportive services, and permanent affordable housing. Milwaukee County officials praised the Biden-Harris Administration, as well as Wisconsin congressional leaders including U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore for working towards making the APRA funds available in order to get the project moving.