housing

Philip Montgomery

Every year, there are thousands of evictions in Milwaukee County. A new exhibition based on the best-selling book Evicted brings the crisis to life.

The exhibition is in an event space called the Mobile Design Box on Milwaukee's near west side — minutes away from Marquette’s campus. When you walk through the doors, you're greeted by a bright yellow banner with the word "evicted" written across it.

LaToya Dennis

When the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2008, the country was launched into the most severe recession since the Great Depression. For many families, this meant the loss of the family home.

Between 2006 and 2014, around 9 million American families lost homes due to foreclosure. There have been many studies on the ways foreclosure impacts someone's personal and professional life, but a recent study analyzed its impact on someone's political life.

ronstik/stock.adobe.com

If you’ve bought or sold a house recently, or just seen the forest of for sale signs around town, you know the Milwaukee real estate market is hot right now. Demand is outstripping supply in many parts of town. 

READ: 'Milwaukee Magazine' 2019 Real Estate Guide Demonstrates The City's Cresting Housing Market

UW-Milwaukee SALUP

In 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy launched its first solar decathlon, giving college teams the opportunity to design energy-efficient houses powered by renewable energy. Since its inception, more than 150 collegiate teams from around the world have participated.

Teran Powell

The City of Milwaukee Housing Authority was granted $2.3 million Wednesday to help promote the economic advancement of public housing residents.

Milwaukee is one of a handful of cities that will get a chunk of a $14 million Jobs Plus grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Brian Tomaino / Courtesy of Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee

Throughout the month of May, neighborhoods around the country are hostings events called “Jane’s Walks.” The walks honor the work of the late Jane Jacobs, an advocate for the needs of everyday people in urban planning. The walks are citizen-led and are aimed at spurring conversations about the neighborhoods and the people who live in them.

JERAMEY JANNENE / FLICKR

Rental assistance recipients could soon be considered a protected class in Milwaukee County. A new proposal relating to fair housing would ban landlords from refusing to rent to people in housing assistance programs. 

The plan is expected to go before a county board committee later this month.

Current federal law does not require landlords to accept housing choice vouchers, therefore they can legally refuse to rent to voucher holders.

Marti Mikkelson

Community leaders are hoping a $10,000 grant will help Milwaukee get its arms around the ongoing issue of eviction. The money will go toward developing a long-term plan to keep people in their homes. 

Mayor Tom Barrett announced the grant Wednesday from the “Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin” Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute.

"Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty," Desmond says. "Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability."

LaToya Dennis

Every year in Milwaukee, thousands of eviction notices are filed. The state Senate is expected to take up legislation later this month that critics say unfairly favors landlords -- and would increase the number of evictions. Republican proponents maintain it’s about ensuring quality housing for tenants in the most affordable way to landlords.

Poor families in the United States are having an increasingly difficult time finding an affordable place to live, due to high rents, static incomes and a shortage of housing aid. Tenant advocates worry that the new tax bill, as well as potential cuts in housing aid, will make the problem worse.

Christine Thompson is eager to leave the two bedroom apartment she rents in a shabby house on the north side of Milwaukee. There are so many things wrong with the place.

"In the bathroom I have to turn my shower on in order for the light to come on. And when I turn the shower off, the light goes off," she says.

The apartment also has mice, cockroaches, and so many bedbugs that she and her sons — ages 3 and 7 — sleep on an air mattress on the dining room floor, where's there's no carpet. She also has no oven or stove, and water leaking from the ceiling.

Jeramey Jannene / Flickr

Cities around the country are facing an affordable housing crisis and Milwaukee is no different. That's one of the reasons this year's Henry W. Maier State of Milwaukee Summit at UWM is focusing on the city's on-going issues with housing. 

This year's topic also pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the March on Milwaukee and the fight for fair housing in the city. 

Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society

The late Lloyd Barbee is perhaps best known as the lawyer and state legislator who fought to desegregate Milwaukee’s public schools. A new book lays out just how broad Barbee’s fight for justice was.

Beyond education, Barbee pushed for open housing, women’s rights, and decolonization. He would often sign his letters with the quote - “Justice For All.” And that’s the title of the new book, Justice for All: Selected Writings of Lloyd A. Barbee.

The book is edited by his daughter -- another civil rights attorney -- Daphne Barbee-Wooten.

Courtesy of the City of Milwaukee

Low-income public housing projects used to be thought of as islands, often cut off from the rest of city life. They were densely populated, high-rise apartment complexes, often troubled by gangs, drugs and other criminal activities. But over the last decade or two, public housing design has shifted. High rises are giving way to a more neighborhood-based approach.

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