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Milwaukee Receives Grant To Help Public Housing Residents With Employment Needs

Teran Powell
From left to right: Mayor Tom Barrett, HUD’s Midwest Regional Administrator Joe Galvan, Milwaukee Housing Authority Resident Commissioner Sherri Daniels, and Secretary-Executive Director of the Housing Authority Tony Pérez.";s

The City of Milwaukee Housing Authority was granted $2.3 million Wednesday to help promote the economic advancement of public housing residents.

Milwaukee is one of a handful of cities that will get a chunk of a $14 million Jobs Plus grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

According to HUD's website, the purpose of the Jobs Plus Initiative is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings.

Credit Teran Powell
Joe Galvan announces the Jobs Plus grant, which will help public housing residents with their employment needs.

Joseph Galvan, HUD’s Midwest regional administrator, revealed the news.

“We believe that our work at HUD is more than just about bricks and mortars; it’s about upward mobility. It’s about using housing as a platform to help folks better their lives,” he said.

There are three components to the Jobs Plus program: employment and training, financial incentives, and community support for work.

In Milwaukee, the program will address unemployment of public housing residents. For instance, it will enable employment through a set of services designed to support work, such as job placement and financial counseling.

Mayor Tom Barrett said he’s pleased the city was awarded the grant.

“This program, to me, is all about creating positive momentum. Taking people, often times with challenges in their lives, and allowing them to get ahead of the game," Barrett said. "To be able to put themselves in a place they can feel good enough to go out and get a job without losing their housing, stay in the workforce, and hopefully get to that point where they can be totally self-sufficient.”

The $2.3 million would allow roughly 275 families that to enter the program, according to Sue Kenealy, grants manager at Milwaukee’s Housing Authority.

“Anybody can come into the program that meets the basic requirements. So, if you’re a person who’s earning $15 an hour as a CNA and you want to enhance your skills or get involved in a program that will put you in a position where you can earn more money, you can be a part of this program,” she said.

There is no definitive timeline for when the program will get underway in Milwaukee, but the housing authority hopes to have it up and running by the fall.

Teran Powell joined WUWM in the fall of 2017 as the station’s very first Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She became WUWM's race and ethnicity reporter in 2018.
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