WUWM 89.7 FM | By Mallory Cheng
Published September 13, 2022 at 2:00 PM CDT
Last year, Milwaukee Public School’s former 37th Street School reopened as affordable housing for seniors and veterans. The project was led by Community First, an organization based in Washington Park, and the Heartland Housing Alliance. Community First works to better the neighborhood without displacing current residents across Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.
Rafael Garcia is the executive director and founder of Community First. He says that the affordable housing resources through 37th Street School keep families and individuals of low to moderate income in mind.
“It sits in the middle of a neighborhood,” Garcia says. “We put our resources into home repairs, keeping elderly in their homes, and it just made sense, our families, and specifically, for this building our low to moderate income individuals or families.”
Community First also runs a program that supports Milwaukee-area seniors so they can stay in their homes. Homeowners receive help with general home repairs and upkeep. The group administered this through the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Improvement Program.
“We’re building for the community, we’re building for the families that live here, the individuals that live here, and the people that want to continue to live here,” Garcia says. “We believe that you should be able to live wherever you want to live, and you should be able to live in clean, safe, affordable housing.”