@Promise Self-Sufficiency Training Program Elevates Low-Income Residents
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) is pleased to announce the first graduating class of the @Promise Resident Training Program, a new HACM initiative to assist its residents in achieving self-sufficiency. The graduates were celebrated by their family and friends, Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Hamilton, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, and HACM staff during a graduation ceremony on Thursday, January 18 at the Hillside Family Resource Center.
The name of the program stems from a realization that HACM’s Secretary-Executive Director, Tony Pérez, had several years ago. “Many of our young people are perceived as ‘at risk’. I chose to call them ‘at promise’ instead. The idea here is how many of these promises will go unfulfilled, not because these individuals didn’t try, but because no one lent a helping hand,” explained Pérez. “We can be that helping hand.”
HACM invited its residents to attend an informational session about the program. Of the 55 interested residents, 12 successfully completed a three-week job readiness boot camp that explored the benefits of self-sufficiency, offered career assessments and planning, and prepared the participants for a successful transition into the workforce. Six participants were selected to move on to paid training provided by HACM. These individuals will now begin working 20 hours a week in administrative positions for HACM for up to two years. They will also further their education by enrolling in Milwaukee Area Technical College's Administrative (MATC) Professional Associate Degree Program. To help with the cost of this program, they will receive a $2,000 HACM Scholarship and up to $1,500 in tuition reimbursement per calendar year.
Angelita Ingram, an @Promise graduate, was immediately drawn to the opportunity. “It was a little intimidating at first because there were so many qualified people interested in the program. To be chosen to participate in the boot camp and ultimately be selected to work for HACM and to further my education means so much to me and my children. I believe I am capable of doing anything,” stated Ingram with a warm, enthusiastic smile.
HACM is committed to ensuring its residents have opportunities available to help them achieve self-sufficiency through programs such as @Promise and the organization’s numerous collaborative partnerships.
Mayor Tom Barrett commended the graduates and recognized HACM’s commitment to improving the lives of the people it serves. “The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee is not only in the business of providing decent, affordable, respectable housing. It is also in the business of creating hope and opportunity in people’s lives,” said Barrett.
At the graduation ceremony, each graduate received a proclamation from Common Council President, Ashanti Hamilton. The ceremony also included remarks from MATC Provost, Mohammad Dakwar, on what it takes to succeed and the importance of perseverance. The final guest speaker for the evening was former HACM resident, Alysia Mullins. She shared the story of her journey and the role HACM played in helping her earn a college degree, purchase a home, and move from public housing to independence.
Financial Education Program Surpasses 2,000 Graduates
HACM’s long-running financial education partnership with WWBIC hit a milestone in December when 89 new graduates put the total at 2,001 since 2004. Mayor Barrett provided the keynote speech at a ceremony December 12, which allowed graduates to celebrate their new knowledge of budgeting, credit management, and smart savings strategies. Graduates can also open an Individual Development Account (IDA), which matches their earned income savings four to one to be put towards the purchase of a house, paying for school or starting a business.
Alysia Mullins found housing stability when she moved into Westlawn in 2012. She then got to work using HACM programs to build her financial literacy, clean up her credit, save money, and go to school - all while working multiple jobs to provide a good home for her family. 2017 was a bellwether year for Alysia's efforts as she earned a degree in Human Services and she moved from public housing into her own home with the help of HACM's homeownership programs. Learn more about Alysia's inspiring story in her own words from the 2017 HACM Annual Meeting:
AWARD-WINNING NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION
Westlawn, once Wisconsin's largest public housing development, is being transformed into Westlawn Gardens, a new mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood on Milwaukee's Northwest side. Phase 1 of the revitalization, completed in 2012, has received multiple awards and honors, including from the Congress for the New Urbanism, Low-Income Housing Tax Coalition, Milwaukee Business Journal, The Daily Reporter, and Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women. The U.S. Green Building Council has recognized Westlawn Gardens as one of the greenest neighborhoods for its energy-efficient homes, advanced stormwater management system, community gardens and parks, LED street lighting, ground source heating/cooling, walkability, and more.
View an entertaining introduction to Westlawn Gardens in this episode of "Around The Corner with John McGivern". The Westlawn Gardens segment begins at the 14:22 mark:
Building Lives While Building Up the Community
HACM’s YouthBuild program provides young adults the skills to find employment in the busy local construction industry, while also giving them the opportunity to rehab homes that can be put into the affordable rental market for low-income families.
“This is a great new start to my life and career,” said YouthBuilder Harvey Young. “I like to draw, and construction ties my art together with building things. I want to start my own business someday because of this program.”
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