We are very pleased that the city’s Anti-Displacement Plan, and including the creation of the MKE United Anti-Displacement Fund to help homeowners, will receive an Excellence in Planning Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association.
The award recognizes an initiative we helped to create while working collaboratively with residents and neighborhood partners to find ways of pushing back against displacement of long-term homeowners in neighborhood experiencing significant development. We authored legislation to develop the Anti-Displacement Plan and advance its recommendations, and in 2018 the city released A Place in the Neighborhood: An Anti-Displacement Plan for Neighborhoods Surrounding Downtown Milwaukee.
We are strongly encouraged by the efforts that have gone forward, including extensive community engagement, the adoption of an Anti-Displacement Neighborhood Preference Policy for new housing developments receiving City assistance, and targeted investment of resources through tax incremental financing to create new affordable housing developments in neighborhoods facing rising housing costs.
Significantly, the award also specifically recognizes the creation of the MKE United Anti-Displacement Fund in 2019 to protect longtime homeowners from property tax increases they cannot afford. The Anti-Displacement Fund assists eligible long-term homeowners in the Halyard Park, Harambee, Brewer’s Hill, and Walker’s Point neighborhoods with needed assistance to offset the impact of rising property values on their property tax bills.
The MKE United Anti-Displacement Fund is now in its second year. In its first year, the Anti-Displacement Fund enrolled 111 homeowners, and the Fund provided an average of $450 per household to assist homeowners with property tax increases. Seventy-four percent of Fund participants are homeowners of color, and participants have a median household income of $22,000. Most are elderly homeowners, and participants have owned their homes for 22 years on average.
Notably, the Anti-Displacement Plan has greatly benefited from a spirit of strong collaboration that has partnered neighborhood residents with members of the private sector, the Common Council, and philanthropic organizations. We have made sure that the interests of low- and moderate-income homeowners have been brought to the table when we are confronting displacement, and MKE United’s continuing efforts to advance the anti-displacement work, including fundraising, has been extremely important and is appreciated.