The city kicked off its Homes MKE initiative with a news conference last month. (Pat A. Robinson Photo on April 19. (Photo by Pat A. Robinson provided by the City of Milwaukee)

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit

Some of Milwaukee’s most dilapidated homes are on the road to being repaired this summer.

City of Milwaukee officials, elected leaders and community stakeholders formally kicked off the Homes MKE initiative last month.

The initiative is a program aimed at creating jobs, lifting up neighborhoods and helping Milwaukeeans become homeowners by renovating 150 vacant city-owned properties into high quality, affordable homes for ownership and rental opportunities.

In 2021, Mayor Cavalier Johnson and members of the Milwaukee Common Council allocated $15 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to the Department of City Development for Homes MKE.

Homes MKE is working with both emerging developers and nonprofit organizations to carry out renovation work across 23 neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee.

“We are hopeful that other developers involved follow our lead in hiring from the communities they are working in,” said Jim Gaillard with Ezekiel Community Development Corporation, one of the groups working on the initiative.

“Homes MKE will stabilize blocks within neighborhoods and send the message that every part of our city matters,” said Alderman Russell W. Stamper II, who represents the 15th Aldermanic District, where the first home will be renovated under the program.

“Implementing Homes MKE aligns with our mission to improve quality of life in Milwaukee by promoting equitable development that strengthens the urban environment,” Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development Lafayette Crump added.

For more information

• People interested in purchasing a renovated Homes MKE property can text “homes mke” to 1-414-708-1182 for more information.
• For more information on the program as a whole you can check the city’s website.
• Homeowners interested in home repair can text 1-414-708-1182, typing in “Help with home repairs” for more information.
• People looking for construction work can text “I’m interested in construction work” to 1-414-708-1182 to learn more about property developers who are hiring over the course of this work.