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The Heart of Milwaukee

Supporting Wisconsin’s ever-changing affordable housing needs is critical in helping our urban and rural communities thrive. In the 1990’s many Milwaukee neighborhoods were expanding and changing at a rate where access to an affordable place to call home was becoming a challenge. During this time, WHEDA launched The Heart of Milwaukee initiative to increase homeownership opportunities in Milwaukee neighborhoods. To assist in the effort, WHEDA also opened its first office in Milwaukee to work right in the heart of the city and serve local home buyers.

The Heart of Milwaukee initiative provided resources and loan programs to low- and moderate-income families seeking homeownership in historic Milwaukee neighborhoods that had not seen investment in its older housing stock for decades. WHEDA worked with prospective home buyers to educate on the home buying process and offer low-cost mortgages through its HOME program, now active today as the WHEDA Advantage. The WHEDA home buyer seminars helped individuals learn about personal finances, how to prepare for homeownership and also offered attendees up to $700 in closing cost savings with a WHEDA loan. The home buying seminars were popular with some attracting 2,600 people.

Between the years 1989 and 1990, single-family loans rose by over 83% in Milwaukee, providing affordable housing to hundreds of families. By 1995, nearly 1,000 families bought homes using an affordable WHEDA mortgage. Though the Heart of Milwaukee initiative helped many Milwaukeeans get on the path to homeownership, it was each family’s dedication and tenacity that truly made their dreams possible.

Serving as a trailblazer for similar initiatives, such as Lindsay Heights or the more recent Transform Milwaukee, the Heart of Milwaukee initiative demonstrates WHEDA’s commitment to serving Wisconsin’s diverse, urban communities. Supporting housing opportunities in Milwaukee has strengthened neighborhoods where people want to live, thrive, and prosper. Today, WHEDA continues to build communities throughout Wisconsin that provide equitable access to housing and economic opportunity.