Cream City Hostel to transition into Milwaukee's 1st co-op housing

NOW: Cream City Hostel to transition into Milwaukee’s 1st co-op housing

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Cream City Hostel in Riverwest is teaming up with a nonprofit organization to help them survive after a financially hard year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cream City Hostel opened up in 2019, but it was forced to shut down because international travel is down. The owners are now transitioning into co-op living. 

“We were really struggling once the hostel got shut down trying to understand how financially we wouldn’t lose our building to foreclosure. The neighborhood has worked really hard to form a stake in the neighborhood,” Juli Kaufmann of River Bee LLC.

Now thanks to the group Bader Philanthropies' $450,000 loan, there is new hope for the building at Center and Holton to transition the hostel into Milwaukee's first co-op living. 

“We look at the strength of the organization and then we make a decision as to whether we support it or not and this one was easy,” Frank Cumberbatch of Bader Philanthropies said.

The hostel that has 50 beds in 12 rooms will be converted into 12 studio apartments and members will share amenities like kitchens and bathrooms. 

“Over the first few months they will form and decide a lot of the rules, help set the rent. It’s really a democracy,” Kaufmann said.

One of the owners, Juli Kaufmann, said the new venture means there won't be another boarded up building in Milwaukee due to foreclosure, and it will help people struggling during the pandemic as the federal eviction moratorium is coming to an end soon. 

“More affordable housing and a very positive environment for folks,” Kaufmann said.

They are going to start recruiting co-op members starting in January. 

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