Neighborhood Transformation Moves Forward With HUD Team Visit
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) visited Milwaukee November 18 & 19, 2015 to meet with the local team that recently won a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) grant.
The grant was awarded by HUD Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti in Milwaukee on September 28, 2015 for a comprehensive plan to transform a portion of Milwaukee's northwest side by improving housing, services for residents, and neighborhood amenities. Led by the City of Milwaukee and the Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), Milwaukee was one of only five cities to win the competitive grant.
"HUD is very pleased to be working with the city of Milwaukee, the Housing Authority and the diverse array of partners who have produced a strong plan to achieve the goals of the Choice Neighborhoods program," said Luci Blackburn, the HUD Team Coordinator for Milwaukee's Choice grant. The HUD team is made up of members of the national Choice Neighborhoods office and representatives of the Milwaukee HUD field office, which has been instrumental to the success of many past neighborhood revitalizations in Milwaukee.
The HUD team scheduled the visit to meet with local partners, discuss best practices from other CNI grant cities, and identify strategies for accomplishing the program's goals.
"Our visit confirmed that there are many positive initiatives already happening in the neighborhood and that the Choice program is joining them at the right time to coalesce and signficantly amplify their impacts," said Blackburn. "We are pleased to invest in the revitalization of housing as a foundation for the effort and to further support local programs and services that will produce good quality of life for neighborhood residents."
The HUD team first met with Mayor Tom Barrett, Westlawn Resident Council President Jackie Burrell, and representatives of city departments, including HACM, the Department of Administration, the Department of City Development, and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM).
"Milwaukee has partnered with HUD on several successful neighborhood revitalizations, but the Choice Neighborhoods partnership holds the promise of having a deeper impact than ever before," said Mayor Barrett. "Everyone involved is excited to be moving forward with the work."
The HUD team also met with local partners who are leading the four components of Milwaukee's Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan: Housing, People, Education, and the Neighborhood, all within the area bordered by Sherman Boulevard to the east, 76th Street to the west, Mill Road to the north and Villard Avenue to the south.
The housing component will be led by HACM and involves the replacement of 394 units of distressed public housing at Westlawn with new affordable housing and the addition of 314 mixed-income rental and homeownership units.
HACM will also lead the people component, which will focus on improving access to quality healthcare services, increasing workforce development services to build economic stability and self-sufficiency, and expanding youth services available to neighborhood residents.
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) will lead the education component, with an emphasis on community outreach and neighborhood engagement. Efforts will include growing enrollment in early childhood education programs, improving proficiency in core academic subjects, and increasing the numbers of youth who graduate from high school ready for college or career.
"The goals of the Choice Neighborhoods program align with MPS' strategic plan for improving educational outcomes, so this collaborative effort is a natural fit," said MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver.
RACM will lead the neighbornood component of the plan, which will focus on stabilizing housing, improving retail options, increasing and improving neighborhood amenities, and building community spirit.
Over 25 public and private partners have committed $251 million in additional resources to support Milwaukee's Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan.
The partners include Havenwoods Economic Development Corp., PNC Bank, WHEDA, Browning Elementary School, Byron Kilbourn Elementary School, Kluge Elementary School, Carmen Middle/High School of Science & Technology, Milwaukee Community Development Block Grants Administration, Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation, UWM College of Nursing, Milwaukee Department of Public Works, Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee Health Services, Growing Power, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, WRTP/Big Step, We Energies, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Strong Neighborhoods Foreclosure Program, Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee Community Service Corps, Milwaukee Job Corps, Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association, Day Care Services for Children, and Milwaukee County Parks.
"We are honored to be a part of such a dynamic coalition of partners who are committed to the same goal: creating a community of opportunity with quality housing, schools, businesses, services, and amenities where people want to live, learn, work, shop, and play," said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez.