Neighborhoods marked by crime, vandalized buildings, and vacated homes are often abandoned by the city and private housing market. Low-income individuals and families in these communities often lack the necessary tools, knowledge, and ability to secure home loans. They quickly become trapped in a cycle of high-demand, high-cost rental options, placing them at a further disadvantage to overcoming poverty.
ACTS Housing is a nonprofit empowerment agency that supports low-income families to achieve homeownership in Milwaukee’s most challenging neighborhoods. ACTS Housing supports families by providing homebuyer counseling, real estate brokerage, home rehab counseling, and low-interest loans to help families finance the rehabilitation of their new home. ACTS works with those who have been denied access to homeownership for a variety of reasons, including credit or language barriers as well as criminal backgrounds. For these individuals, homeownership is a crucial step in overcoming poverty. The benefits of homeownership reverberate throughout the community — home rehabilitation relieves taxpayers of significant financial burdens compared to demolition of tax foreclosed properties, and housing markets and local economies are revitalized.
The area around St. Michael’s Church in Milwaukee was plagued by crime, vacancy, and dereliction. St. Michael’s Church partnered with the City of Milwaukee to develop a housing program aimed at equipping low-income residents with the resources and training necessary to purchase and rehabilitate a home. For these individuals, homeownership lowers their monthly housing costs and continues them on a path to financial stability and responsibility.
For Pastor Lee, his wife, and their five children, homeownership is a new opportunity in life. More than changing the trajectory of their own family, they are also investing in their community. “The standard of a person is not rank, or how big your paycheck is; it’s how much you make a difference in the community,” Lee explained. After converting a city tax-foreclosed duplex into a single family home, the Lee family constantly opens their home to others. They exemplify the heart of ACTS — creating vibrant neighborhood communities through homeownership.
ACTS Housing has partnered with Milwaukee residents, allowing more than 2,000 of them to become homeowners and 850 of them to rehab a once foreclosed property, resulting of an investment of more than $129 million. ACTS helps over 110 families every year make the dream of homeownership a reality.
ACTS Housing is a 2016 S+ Catalyst. Through their participation in the Catalyst Program, ACTS receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach.