Mayor Tom Barrett prioritizes affordable housing with ARPA funds
By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Housing is a basic human right, but not everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, housing problems in Milwaukee were further exacerbated. Mayor Tom Barrett recently announced his intention to direct American Rescue Plan Act funding to housing and homeownership programs.
“With ARPA funds, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make substantial investments that can positively impact Milwaukee residents,” Barrett said in a press release.
“One of my priorities is to have safe and affordable housing for the people here.
The city of Milwaukee will receive more than $ 390 million in ARPA funding, Barrett said at a press conference on Sunday, July 11. He plans to put more than $ 30 million to help alleviate Milwaukee’s housing problems.
“I see housing as one of the most pressing issues facing the city of Milwaukee right now,” he said.
So far, about $ 3.8 million of ARPA funding has been spent, Barrett said. The money went to Employer Milwaukee to support summer youth employment, he said.
His housing proposal, which was submitted to the Common Council later this week, includes the following allocations: $ 3 million for the compliance loan program, $ 2 million for housing projects for low-income people, $ 1.2 million for Housing Authority, $ 1.8 million for eviction prevention programs, $ 1.2 million. million for the Rental Housing Resource Center and more.
“Every program that has been funded in this plan has been viewed through a racial equity lens,” Barrett said.
Barrett explained that he wanted to invest in the City of Milwaukee’s Compliance Loan Program, which helps homeowners obtain 0% interest deferred payment loans.
Westley Jackson Jr. is an owner from Milwaukee. He and his wife have lived in their home since 1994. Jackson is currently retired, but when his home leaked he used the Compliance Loan Program.
“This program has helped me allow me to have a new roof and fix everything so that it doesn’t leak into the house anymore,” Jackson said. “I was blessed because I didn’t have the income to do it. “
He received the loan last year and was able to replace the entire roof and gutters. This program helps people in need who cannot afford to pay, Jackson said.
“It was awesome,” he said.
Jackson noted that next year his title will be refunded and he will get title and deed to the house.
“Now you can all see why I wanted to invest more money in this program,” Barrett said. “You can see the tangible results so clearly. “