Milwaukee, WI,
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One Home at a Time

Strengthening neighborhoods and closing the housing gap

When a vacant home in Madee’s Milwaukee neighborhood was up for sale last year, his uncle told him and his brother to go for it. Madee’s uncle is a contractor who works with ACTS Housing. He thought the young men would like living close to their parents.

The brothers went to the ACTS Housing raffle in June, 2015 thinking the home could be a fixer-upper. The young men believed this could be their opportunity to own a home. They put their names into the raffle and Madee ended up winning. Now all he had to do was come up with $3500.

He was nervous about next steps but ACTS was by his side. ACTS Housing put together a deal for Madee to buy the house. They coached him about his finances and grants. They also recommended contractors and provided him a loan for repairs.

By working with homeowners like Madee, ACTS Housing fills a gap in the housing market. Often, vacant and vandalized houses are tough to sell. ACTS families turn these houses into homes. Since 2008, ACTS has helped families purchase and rehab 915 houses in the city.

The new homeowners also save money switching from renting to owning. ACTS Housing makes a difference by strengthening neighborhoods and making homeownership dreams a reality.

Madee received a $2,500 grant and a loan from ACTS to support the renovations. Madee pays only $360 a month, not including utilities, for his home. Compared to the monthly average rental cost of $700, this is significant savings. For Madee, it’s not just about the savings. He explained, “I am proud to be a homeowner!”

Creating a Safe Neighborhood

Madee is living with his parents while he completes his home and hopes to move in soon. He shared that the neighborhood is a quieter place than when he was young. Madee explained, “The area has a promising future. When I was young, crime was bad. One time a bullet even penetrated my parents’ house. But now, I feel safe in my neighborhood.”

Now, many families call his neighborhood home. Businesses moved into the area and police patrol more often.

Madee wants to help keep the peace by starting a community watch. He also hopes others will buy vacant homes in his neighborhood to keep building up the area.

“I would recommend to others that they try this process,” the new homeowner shared. “You just need to plan a scope of work and stick to it.”

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