Saving Milwaukee

It was recently announced, the Milwaukee Police Department is in line to get $200,000—to be used towards paying overtime to cops patrolling neighborhoods with “high rates of vacant and foreclosed properties.” The funds come from Milwaukee’s neighborhood stabilization program, implemented to handle the foreclosure crisis and keep areas safe. The Community and Economic Development Committee approved the plan and figure suggested.

The plan will now be presented to the Common Council for its final approval. Police presently patrol those areas with vacant and/or sealed up properties as empty homes fall victim to vandalism, theft and burglary among other criminal acts. According to the plan, extra foot and bicycle patrols/beats, would occur between midnight and three in the morning. Assistant Chief Gregory A. Habeck said the 12 neighborhoods hit the hardest by such criminal activity in addition to, approximately, 375 other properties, will be the main focus for the “overtime police.”

Meanwhile, the economic development committee recently gave the green light to an allocation plan which, neat year, would give Milwaukee roughly $26.3 million through a community block grant and federal HOME funds. Nearly $18.2 million from the community development block grant will go towards assisting low to moderate income parts of the city. City departments will receive $10.3 million from the community block grant as non-profit community services receive $7.8 million.

Milwaukee’s housing programs are looking forward to its $6.8 million from HOME. Additionally, $740,186 will be given for “emergency shelter grants” and another $574,936 will be utilized to provide support to people living with AIDS. Of the $18 million in block grant money, city departments would get $10.3 million, while non-profit community agencies would get $7.8 million. This is all good news for the city’s people, who continue to struggle and seek assistance—a seemingly repeating state of recovery and reorganization. But as we all know, Wisconsin is not alone.

Milwaukee’s “Main Street Milwaukee” program, introduced to rejuvenate the commercial areas of the city, was criticized in a recent Public Policy Forum report. The program was deemed unorganized, unreliable and bogged down by administrative red tape.