Milwaukee kicks off Homes MKE initiative aiming to renovate vacant houses

NOW: Milwaukee kicks off Homes MKE initiative aiming to renovate vacant houses

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- The city of Milwaukee is working to maintain affordability and increase homeownership across more than a dozen neighborhoods. That's the goal of the Homes MKE initiative.

Construction is set to begin this week on the first of more than 100 properties part of this project. It's located near 16th and Locust.

The property that will be renovated first is more than 120 years old and has been vacant for more than five years.

Kelton Buford is a Milwaukee native and co-owner of TAS Solutions.

He was chosen as one of the developers for the project. He says the house will look brand new when he's finished with it. "New roof, new siding. We're going to fix the porch up a little bit. Then we'll go inside. All new mechanicals. New drywall. New flooring," he said.

Buford has been in business for the past six years and says he's happy to be part of a project that aims to clean up the city he calls home. "It's an honor and a privilege, to be honest with you. I'm excited," he said.

The money to make all this happen comes from federal ARPA funds.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and the Common Council have allocated $15 million to the Homes MKE initiative.

"Homes MKE aims to coordinate housing redevelopment and revitalization efforts that positively impact the surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole," said Lafayette Crump, commissioner of city development.

By retaining ownership of vacant and foreclosed properties, the city plans to use ARPA funds to fix up the properties and keep them affordable.

"Neighborhoods that are the cleanest, the neighborhoods that are the safest and the neighborhoods that are the healthiest are the neighborhoods that have the most homeowners," said District 15 Alderman Russell Stamper.

Renovations on the first home are likely to be completed within the next 90 days.

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