MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Rent a house now and own it later. That's the opportunity more than 20 families on Milwaukee's south side will have. It's courtesy of a $6 million project.
A combination of federal, state, city and private money made the initiative possible. Developers targeted five south side neighborhoods hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis. They believe it will help far more than the 22 families that get to move in.
"One of the things about rent-to-own is it really gives the tenants a stake in the home they're living in, they really care more about the home, I think, because in the long-term, that's gonna be their own home," said Todd Hutchison, who helped develop the project.
"In 15 years, they'll be able to buy that home and if they stay there from day one, they'll have a $36,000 down payment toward the purchase of that home," said Charlotte John-Gomez, who also helped with the project.
The Layton West Boulevard Neighbors and Impact Seven are the project's co-developers. Using tax credits and private donations, the groups say it's an initiative that will reach far beyond the refurbished properties.
"When you have a foreclosed house, every other house on that block, even though nothing else happened to that, it drives the value of all those houses down," said Hutchison.
The monthly rent for each house is expected to cost $600 to $700 a month. Developers say that will make home ownership a realistic goal for families of modest means.
"There are a lot of families who want to own a home but aren't quite ready to buy for various reasons, so this offers an opportunity for a family to get into a home," said John-Gomez.
Impact Seven is in charge of leasing out the homes. They have started taking applications for those properties.