Urban League of Greater Madison allocates $5,000,000 to increase black homeownership

Organizers say they hope this will be a small step forward toward achieving racial equality in homeownership

MADISON, Wis. — Urban League of Greater Madison’s President Ruben Anthony announced that the organization is launching a $5,000,000 initiative to increase homeownership among Black Madisonians.

Anthony said his organization is in the process of buying around 17 homes to renovate, remodel and sell to low income and moderate low income families who are looking to become first-time homeowners.

“Homeownership is the beginning of really experiencing the American Dream here in this country,” Anthony said. “It takes a lot of people to make a project like this work.”

Anthony partnered with the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Executive Director Joaquin Altoro, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, South Madison Alder Sheri Carter, ad other partnering organizations including the National Community Investment Fund, Wells Fargo and Johnson Bank.

“We will provide homeowners with no down payment and interest only loans for seven years,” Anthony said. “You can’t get that anywhere else and we will make this possible for these homeowners. After seven years, they will have to refinance the home and take us out of the financing.”

Anthony said the new homeowners will also receive ongoing homeownership readiness training and individualized financial empowerment counseling.

Operation Fresh Start is also partnering with the Urban League on this project. OFS will serve as a general contractor on several homes and will collaborate with them on a construction training project that will teach unemployed and underemployed adults construction skills while working on the homes.

WHEDA is allocating nearly $3,500,000 towards the project, the City of Madison will invest nearly $200,000 to help bring down the cost to families and Wells Fargo Ban will provide the remaining $1,500,000.

“This will help some 50 families earning below 60% of the area median income transition from renting to home ownership while building more than 2.5 million dollars in equity,” Altoro said.

Rhodes-Conway said with there being only 10% Black homeowners in Madison, “That can’t stand. That can’t continue. Luckily the Urban League and WHEDA and the City understand how important homeownership is to our communities. It’s the key to generating wealth in families and communities. It’s the key to passing wealth from one generation to the next.”

Anthony said the first several homes will be available in 60 days. Those who are interested in applying can reach out to the Urban League of Greater Madison.