Data You Can Use and Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods Coalition Release Results of Comprehensive Parcel Survey Assessing Milwaukee Housing Conditions
Survey conducted across 15 neighborhoods is the city’s first aggregated report on housing conditions and funded by the Rocket Community Fund
Data You Can Use and Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods (RON) Coalition released findings of a groundbreaking new parcel-based assessment in Milwaukee, providing real-time data on housing conditions and insight into necessary interventions to achieve greater housing stability in the city. The full report and summary are available at www.datayoucanuse.org/RON.
The report was covered by Talis Shelbourne in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with an article published May 2, 2023.
The report presents a summary of exterior housing conditions across 15 Milwaukee neighborhoods and is the first such aggregated survey of its kind. The information from the survey has been combined with parcel information from the City of Milwaukee, including information about ownership and tax delinquency status, to create a powerful dataset that provides deeper insight into the need for greater investment into Milwaukee’s housing stock. In total, 19,827 properties were surveyed, of which 16,913 were residential or mixed-use.
“We are thrilled to present RON’s inaugural Milwaukee Housing Condition Report, which draws on extensive data from the city’s near north and south side neighborhoods,” said Darryl Johnson, Executive Director of Riverworks Development Corporation. “This survey backs up what we see and hear daily from our residents – homeowners take better care of their properties than investors do. It also validates the extreme need for innovative approaches and strategies to enhance housing conditions in our community.”
Neighborhood canvassers systematically evaluated each individual property using a digital survey tool and specified the type of property, its exterior condition, and whether major repairs were needed to certain elements of the property. Example repair categories included a property’s chimney, shingles, gutters, porch, and more.
The survey, which cost $550,000 overall for execution and administration, was primarily funded by a $460,000 investment by the Rocket Community Fund. The Rocket Community Fund aims to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure every American has access to stable, healthy housing. In addition to Milwaukee, the Detroit-based organization invests in housing stability efforts in Detroit, Cleveland, and Atlanta.
“This is a groundbreaking, community-driven data set and the first of its kind,” said Dr. Victor Amaya, Executive Director of Data You Can Use. “We hope it can drive programmatic and policy changes and investment in Milwaukee neighborhoods. We are proud to be a part of this powerful group of community leaders.”
The results of the survey underscore the challenges of Milwaukee’s housing crisis, which include a lack of affordable and quality housing, as well as disparities in access to resources, particularly for low-income residents. To tackle this crisis, the Rocket Community Fund and RON Coalition are advocating for increased funding for affordable housing and home repair, better code enforcement, fair housing policies and more investment in historically neglected neighborhoods.
Results from the parcel survey found:
- The percentage of investor-owned residential properties that need multiple major repairs is nearly double the percentage of owner-occupied homes in a similar condition.
- Of all the residential and mixed-use properties, 3,818 – nearly a quarter – needed at least one major repair.
- 2,486 properties – roughly 15% – need multiple major repairs.
- About 15% of the homes surveyed, or 2,537 properties, may have an increased risk of lead exposure since they were built prior to 1979 and were noted as having deteriorated exterior paint conditions.
- The total investment needed across the 15 neighborhoods is $54,094,700, using estimated average costs for the major exterior repairs identified.
The report provides a valuable resource for RON Coalition partners to determine which renters and homeowners may need support and which landlords own properties that are in poor condition. The coalition can use this information to advocate for system-wide changes in policy and investment strategies to better support Milwaukee’s residents and housing market. The report was prepared by Data You Can Use, a nonprofit focused on data for improving conditions in Milwaukee.
The RON Coalition is comprised of 11 neighborhood nonprofit partners including Amani United, Dominican Center, VIA CDC, Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, Milwaukee Christian Center, Muskego Way Forward, Sherman Park Community Association, United Methodist Children’s Services (UMCS), Riverworks Development Corp, Near West Side Partners and Walnut Way Conservation Corp.
The parcel survey was conducted in the following 15 neighborhoods: Amani, Avenues West, Burnham Park, Clarke Square, Cold Spring Park, Concordia, Harambee, Layton Park, Lindsey Heights, Martin Drive, Miller Valley, Muskego Way, Sherman Park, Silver City and Washington Park.
About Data You Can Use
Data You Can Use is a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization. We help people access data and make it useful in improving community conditions. We help connect people who need data to people who have data and assist in accessing, analyzing, translating, interpreting, and presenting data. We can help you ask the right questions to get the right data, put it into a local context, present it visually and put it to work in addressing issues important to you. We subscribe to the principles of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and work to democratize data by building local capacity, sharing best practices, and helping users sort through the data to surface, explain and address issues of concern. We know this requires technical expertise, knowledge of local context, the ability to convene and collaborate with multiple stakeholders and trust. https://www.datayoucanuse.org/
About the Rocket Community Fund
The Rocket Community Fund aims to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure that every American has access to stable, healthy housing. It also invests in people and practices that provide meaningful opportunities for education and employment. Through its For-More-Than-Profit model, the Rocket Community Fund recognizes that business and community are inextricably linked, and it purposefully harnesses team member talent, technology, policy advocacy and philanthropic resources to invest in comprehensive community development in Detroit and across the country. Alongside financial investments, the Rocket Community Fund has organized Rocket Companies, Bedrock and other affiliated team members to provide more than 865,000 volunteer hours nationwide, including 430,000 in Detroit. For more information, visit RocketCommunityFund.org.
About the RON Coalition
Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods (RON) is a highly effective alliance of neighborhood organizations, supported by a coalition of public, nonprofit, and philanthropic partners with the mission to improve the quality of housing in Milwaukee through data-informed, resident-engaged strategies and actions. RON was formed in 2013 when the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council regranted settlement funds to remediate redlining by financial institutions. Based on a housing survey strategy in Sherman Park, the original four RON neighborhood partner agencies included the Sherman Park Community Association Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, and Riverworks Development Corporation. In 2022, RON expanded to include 11 agencies serving 15 Milwaukee Neighborhoods and published its first aggregated housing condition report.