Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity

Building homes, communities and hope

aka Milwaukee Habitat, MHFH   |   Milwaukee, WI   |  https://www.milwaukeehabitat.org

Mission

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Ruling year info

1987

Executive Director

Brian Sonderman

Main address

3726 North Booth Street

Milwaukee, WI 53212 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

39-1496741

NTEE code info

Housing Development, Construction, Management (L20)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity addresses the City of Milwaukee's affordable housing crisis. Currently, Milwaukee leads the nation in declining affordability for homeownership. Three out of five Milwaukee renters are living in unaffordable housing, spending 40%, 50% and even 70% of their monthly income just to put a roof over their heads. That financial strain creates a ripple effect on local families' ability to invest in their children's health, education and opportunities for the future.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Affordable Homeownership

Milwaukee Habitat helps families earning below the media income become first-time homebuyers. Milwaukee is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis where one in three renters are spending half or more of their income on housing. Milwaukee Habitat’s affordable homeownership program provides an alternative to the skyrocketing cost of housing in our city. While the average cost to rent in Milwaukee is more than $900 per month, the average cost to own is more than $1600 per month. Instead, Milwaukee Habitat's typical monthly payment to own a brand new home is between $600 to $800. That cost difference can result in thousands of dollars saved on housing every single year. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage that doesn't exceed 30% of a families income - widely recognized as the threshold for affordable housing.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity offers affordable home repair services for homeowners in the areas we serve. Repairs range from plumbing issues, electrical hazards, roof repairs, and more. Often times the families who qualify for these affordable home repairs are senior citizens living on fixed incomes. This program allows these families to age in place and improve the safety of their homes at a price they can afford. Up to 80% of projects costs can be covered based on an applicant's income. Those who've served qualify for an additional 50% cost reduction.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Low-income people

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity breaks down the barriers to homeownership for first-time homebuyers interested in purchasing a home on the open market. Families earning below the median income too often encounter significant barriers to homeownership including large down payments, the rising cost of housing, and the denial of affordable loans. Through Habitat's Affordable Mortgage Program families can pre-qualify for an affordable home loan and use it to purchase a home anywhere in Milwaukee County. The program has the same qualifications as our new home construction program, with the added flexibility of being able to choose a home and neighborhood. Unlike our new home construction program, families are purchasing existing homes on the open market as opposed to building new.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Since our founding in 1984, we've worked to build safe, affordable homes in Milwaukee and across the world, believing that distance does not play any role when we want to achieve the common goal of eliminating poverty housing. We're currently partnering with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in El Salvador and Zambia, donating 10% of our unrestricted funds to ensure even more families have a safe, decent place to sleep at night; a donation known as tithe. In addition to sending funds, Milwaukee Habitat has sent volunteer groups to assist with the construction of these homes in our partner countries.

Population(s) Served
People of Central American descent
People of African descent
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

People partner with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Strong and stable homes help build strong and stable communities. While our homes may provide stability and security for our partner families, our families' quality of life ultimately depends on the stability and security of their entire neighborhood. We work closely with other organizations serving the our target neighborhoods to address issues such as safety and to create strong residential networks.

Since 1984, we have seen firsthand how critical housing is to families and to communities. Based on a 2017 survey of all of our Habitat homeowners across the city, we know that Habitat homeownership is having a positive impact on children's academic achievement and family members' health and financial situations.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity's strategies are:

1) To provide low- to moderate-income families with access to safe, affordable housing opportunities by building new homes, rehabbing foreclosed homes, and repairing existing homes.

2) To work with residents, businesses, and organizations to achieve substantial improvements in our target neighborhoods' housing, social, and economic conditions. To achieve this, we work closely with other organizations serving these neighborhoods. We also provide Habitat homeowners and residents with opportunities to connect with one another through special projects to improve the neighborhood surrounding their homes.

For the past five years, we have been implementing our Neighborhood Revitalization strategy in Milwaukee's Washington Park neighborhood. There are now over 225 Habitat homeowners living in the neighborhood. The overall goal has been to work with residents, businesses, and organizations to achieve substantial improvements in the neighborhood's housing, social, and economic conditions. Notably, crime has decreased significantly since we started working there. From 2010-2017, crime has decreased by 46% in the areas where we have clustered our homes and 31% in the neighborhood overall. The Milwaukee Police Department says this decrease is due in part to our work.

This spring we are expanding our focus to the Midtown neighborhood, which is directly to the east of the Washington Park neighborhood – 20th to 30th Street and North to Lisbon Avenue. We chose this section of Midtown because there are a high number of vacant lots available, there are already 140 Habitat homeowners living there, and there is the potential to build a strong network of homeowners.

This expansion is part of an exciting three-year endeavor, called Midtown 100, during which we will build, rehab and repair 100 homes – the most homes we have built in such a short period of time. We will transform blocks of empty lots into the highest concentration of affordable single-family homes built in Milwaukee since WWII.

This year alone, we will increase the number of new homes we will build from eight in 2017 to at least 18. We will also rehab seven homes and repair six. Thus, we will serve at least 31 low- to moderate-income families.

Since 1984, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity has built and repaired over 1,050 homes with families throughout Milwaukee. This is made possible through the work of our 2,500 dedicated volunteers from local churches, civic groups, and businesses and our dedicated staff.

We are one of 14 from over 1,400 Habitat North American affiliates to receive the 2015-2017 "Affiliate of Distinction" award from Habitat for Humanity International. In 2016, we received a MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award in recognition of our collaboration with law enforcement and efforts to decrease crime in the Washington Park neighborhood. In March 2018, our executive director, Brian Sonderman, will receive one of five Donald Driver Foundation Driven to Achieve awards in recognition of his community leadership.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity has focused its work in the Washington Park neighborhood from May 2013-May 2018. The following are some of our accomplishments in the neighborhood:

The homeownership rate and assessed home values are increasing. We increased the homeownership rate on the 2100 block of 38th Street from 40% in 2013 to 90% by end of 2016. We increased the assessed values of all homes by 9% on the blocks where we built and rehabbed homes.

The overall property tax assessment value in the neighborhood has stabilized over the past three years. This is in comparison to similar surrounding neighborhoods, which have seen double digit decreases in assessments, per an interview with the City's Tax Assessor office.

The City of Milwaukee's tax revenue is increasing. In 2016, Habitat homeowners contributed an estimated $649,600 to the City of Milwaukee through property taxes.

By rehabbing city-owned foreclosures, we are providing homes that not only generate tax revenue for the City, but also cease to pose a financial burden. Mayor Tom Barrett states that there are $2,951 in costs and lost revenue per foreclosed home per year. Furthermore, vacant homes allow spaces for crime, cause visual blight that reduces values, and negatively impact neighboring property owners' assessments.

Crime is decreasing. Milwaukee Habitat's work is having a positive impact on crime in Washington Park. There has been a 46% reduction in crime in the neighborhood since 2010 and on the blocks were we have located our housing projects. The Milwaukee Police Department says this decrease is in part due to our efforts.

According to Christopher Ladwig, former Assistant District Attorney, Milwaukee County District Attorney's office, “Habitat is a necessary piece of any neighborhood safety and development strategy, and its work in Washington Park demonstrates that Habitat not only builds homes for families but it also builds safe and thriving neighborhoods."

In 2017, we conducted a survey of all of our Habitat families living in neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee to gauge the impact that being a homeowner has had on their lives. We found that homeownership has a positive impact on children's academic achievement and family members' health and financial situation.

For example, the survey found that of Milwaukee Habitat homeowners who have grown children, 87% of those children have a high school diploma or better. This is significantly higher than the Milwaukee Public Schools graduation rate of 58%.

In 2017, 45 children and their families moved into Milwaukee Habitat homes. We expect this number to rise in 2018.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.)

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity

Board of directors
as of 02/04/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rob Myers

Mortenson

Term: 2021 - 2023

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/4/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/04/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.