Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) is celebrating $1 million invested in homes in the Silver City, Burnham Park, and Layton Park Neighborhoods through the LBWN Home Improvement Matching Grants.

For many homeowners their commitment to and pride in their community is evident through the investment they have made in their homes. With the belief that sustainable homeownership is key to neighborhood revitalization, LBWN has taken an incentivized and assisted homeowners through the use of Home Improvement Matching Grants since 2012. The concept is simple: homeowners apply for a grant and can be matched dollar for dollar for all eligible project costs up to either $1,000 or $3,000, depending on the scope of the project.

Like many homes across Milwaukee, most houses in these neighborhoods are 80 to 100 years old, which of course means they require lots of care to keep them looking beautiful. In order to improve the quality of housing for residents in the neighborhoods, LBWN launched the a pilot Home Improvement Matching Grant program in 2012 in Silver City as part of a project outlined in the neighborhood Quality of Life Plan (2011). That year, 22 homeowners leveraged $10,000 in grants with $54,567 of their own investment to improve their homes.

Because of this success, LBWN secured support from the Zilber Family Foundation, Wells Fargo, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council to expand the grants across the entire neighborhoods of Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park.

In June of this year LBWN and homeowners reached the $1 million investment mark through the Home Improvement Matching Grants Program. A total of 303 homeowners leveraged $276,296 in grants with $723,704 of their own, 2.6 times more than the grant investment! Completed projects have enhanced curb appeal in the neighborhood, prolonged the life of homes, improved quality of life and demonstrate the pride and confidence of many families in the neighborhoods.

The success of these grants has been seen all over the City of Milwaukee. From 2013 to 2016, LBWN partnered with the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative to connect homeowners to invest over $500,000 in 85 home improvement projects in Clarke Square. Furthermore, in 2016, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and City of Milwaukee Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC) implemented similar matching grant programs in several other Milwaukee neighborhoods.

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Lee Matz