A city-owned house would be sold for $1 to a local construction firm — which will work with Milwaukee Area Technical College students to make repairs — under a new proposed program.
The pilot program is trying to accomplish two things: repair a dilapidated, foreclosed home so it can again have residents and generate property taxes, and provide job training for people who want to be in the construction trades.
Milwaukee has done similar efforts with nonprofit organizations and Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School.
If approved by the Common Council, this would mark the first time the city has worked with MATC and a private firm, said Amy Turim of the Department of City Development.
The proposal will have its initial public review by the city Redevelopment Authority at its Thursday board meeting.
The idea came out of last year’s national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, which was hosted in Milwaukee.
That led DCD to contact technical college officials about working together on reducing the number of vacant foreclosed homes owned by the city.
Milwaukee owns around 800 residential properties through property tax foreclosure. Around half are to be demolished, but the remaining buildings are candidates for redevelopment.
City officials contacted MATC because of the college’s role in training new construction workers, Turim said.
A vacant two-story house, at 2606 N. Holton St., is to be sold for $1 to an investment group formed by JCP Construction LLC.
JCP Construction will coordinate renovations done by MATC students, supervised by college instructors and the Social Development Commission, which operates programs to fight poverty.
That allows the students to earn college credit and gain hands-on experience.
Also, the improved house can then be sold, with some of the proceeds helping pay for the project’s expenses.
Along with the house, the Redevelopment Authority would provide a $25,000 grant to help fund the renovations, Turim said.
For MATC, the program could provide experience for students in such areas as interior design and landscaping, as well as the construction trades.
Also, the college could attract additional funding sources to help expand the program, Turim said.
“We’re really excited about this partnership,” she said.
Read original article as printed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.