Wisconsin Policy Forum Report Reveals Serious Racial Inequalities in Homeownership in Milwaukee | WUWM 89.7 FM

Wisconsin Policy Forum research shows that Milwaukee’s wide racial disparity in homeownership has widened over the past decade. Low and falling homeownership rates among Blacks and Hispanics point to Milwaukee’s acute racial equity challenges — and a new forum report adds to that research, confirming stark racial inequality in homeownership. the property.

The report, “Hitting Home: Milwaukee’s homeownership inequities and how we compare to peer cities,” compares Milwaukee to 10 other comparable cities in terms of demographics and economy in the United States. It examines owner occupancy rates, the use of federal resources and the strategies used. to advance homeownership equity. To put it bluntly: Milwaukee has the lowest homeownership rate among black and Hispanic households combined.

“Milwaukee has relatively large disparities in the percentage of black and Hispanic households that own their own homes compared to other cities and white households,” notes Ned Littlefield, lead author of the report and researcher at the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

He notes that racial equity in home ownership is an important indicator of a community’s progress toward racial equity and, therefore, prosperity for all.

According to Littlefield, one of the ways Milwaukee has stood out among its peer cities is that it’s the only city where black and Hispanic populations combined make up more than 50 percent of the city, but neither is predominant.

“So that suggests to us that Milwaukee has a unique balance of diversity here in that we’re a predominantly colored city where no one group is as predominant as in other cities. And therefore, we, as community, we have a unique responsibility to promote racial equity for all residents, and one of the ways to do that is through home ownership,” he says.

Another key element where Milwaukee stood out is how it uses federal funds. “Milwaukee stood out for using federal funds to support a relatively large number of current homeowners with relatively small-scale repairs, [while] while supporting a relatively small number of potential homeowners with relatively large value investments in housing advice, finance or building new homes,” says Littlefield.

He notes that this approach might make sense due to our old housing stock, the city’s financial constraints, and a large percentage of landlords who are burdened with costs. However, Littlefield notes that Milwaukee recognizes the importance of advancing racial equity in homeownership, particularly with respect to its multi-unit housing strategic plan that the city helped develop through the Community Development Alliance. The CDA is a partnership between government and non-government housing actors that aims to create 32,000 additional homeownership opportunities for Black and Hispanic households over the next 30 years in Milwaukee, according to Littlefield.

“We could only find one other comparable city that has this degree of collaboration in its strategic planning process for homeownership,” he adds.

Milwaukee has and will continue to have many challenges meeting its housing needs, Littlefield acknowledges, but the stark racial divide in homeownership makes it particularly urgent to identify and promote opportunities for black residents. and Hispanics to own homes.

“There are other cities that have a similar profile in terms of homeownership affordability, size, demographics that are less inequitable than Milwaukee. So in other words, it’s not it has to be that way,” he said.

Melvin B. Baillie