Some camp out to secure low-income housing in New Berlin
NEW BERLIN — New, affordable housing is coming to New Berlin in September, and it’s in such high demand, some camped out overnight to secure their spot! However, these low-income apartments are also bringing some controversy.
The apartments won’t be ready until September, but many already see the potential, even though the sounds of construction equipment. About 40 people camped out Thursday morning, May 3rd – some since 2:00 a.m., for the opportunity to secure their spot.
There will be a total of 102 units in three apartment buildings, with the majority of them rented with income restrictions. “I think we’re going to get an awesome range of people here. Single people, and people with families,” one official said.
After seven children and 15 grandchildren, Bob and Barbara Schultz are looking to save a few dollars, and were looking at the apartments as an option. “It’s just my wife and I now, and we’re downsizing. We just walk out the door and lock it and take off. We won’t have any worries. I don’t have to worry about the grass,” Schultz said.
Back in 2010, the city voted the project down after some in New Berlin thought the low-income housing units would attract crime. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division stepped in and overruled the decision. “Saying that someone who falls under a certain income, automatically that would bring in crime – it’s kind of a prejudice viewpoint and we’re happy to prove that wrong,” one official said.
New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero says the former worries were just a perception. He says after the project was approved, the office stopped receiving negative phone calls. Chiovatero says he looks forward to the surrounding businesses growing as a result of the new apartments.
People like the Schultz’s say they see one problem with the apartments, but it’s one they’re willing to work around. “You’re going to see a little bit of traffic going out in the morning and coming in at 5, 6 o’clock in the afternoon, but that’s it,” Schultz said.
One apartment building will be ready in September, with the other two buildings opening up in November. There will be a senior living center on the property.
The managing company is currently accepting applications. Call 262-754-0081 for more information.