About Community First

Community First began as the housing program of the YMCA of Milwaukee. In 2011, the YMCA supported Community First’s “spin off” as a separate non-profit agency, under the direction and vision of Rafael Garcia, along with Lamont Davis, Community First’s Program Director from 2012-2019. In 2012, Community First opened its doors with a new Board of Directors, Articles of Incorporation, By Laws, and 501c(3) status.

Since opening our doors in 2012, Community First has been offering critical services to Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods by coordinating substantial home repair projects for homeowners in need. We work side-by-side with under-resourced homeowners to ensure that their homes are brought up to code. The critical services we provide help the families we serve to remain vital and stable members of our communities. THESE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED AT NO COST TO THE FAMILIES1, and we work diligently to ensure that our clients are treated with dignity and respect by providing vetted professional, insured, licensed and timely contractor services.

Since 2012 we have made $1.5 million worth of home improvements in our community. We have served over 100 households and families in the Milwaukee community!

Community First is a community based non-profit organization primarily responsible for administering the City of Milwaukee Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP), a housing rehabilitation loan program for low income homeowners that uses Federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds. Under NIP, owner occupants of houses in targeted neighborhoods have access to forgivable loans, averaging $25,000, to complete substantial home repairs. Qualified applicants are low and moderate income households – as defined by income limits determined by U.S. HUD – who have lived in their home a minimum of five years.