The Common Council today approved a recommendation of the Community and Economic Development Committee to allocate $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for the Milwaukee Promise initiative – the multifaceted city effort to address systemic poverty, joblessness, poor health, crime and low educational achievement in city neighborhoods.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, author of the legislation that created the Milwaukee Promise, said the funding will provide “a bright flame that can ignite revitalization of neighborhoods and lives” across Milwaukee. “The Milwaukee Promise will be fostering effective and productive collaboration among agencies of city government and the development of place-based and data-driven approaches to community revitalization that I believe can transform neighborhoods struggling with issues such as poverty, low employment, poor health and other issues,” he said.
The initiative will address conditions in four city “Promise Zones” (see attached maps) where combined, more than 45% of households make less than $25,000 annually (compared to 36% citywide and 22% statewide), the median household income is less than $26,000 (compared to nearly $36,000 citywide and over $52,000 statewide), and where in some areas more than 56% of the total population and more than 71% of children live in poverty.
Alderman Hamilton, chair of the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee and co-chair of the Black Male Achievement Advisory Council (BMAAC), said the BMAAC has recommended specific Milwaukee Promise funding targets, and those recommendations were also approved today by the Council.
Those funding targets are:
· $50,000 to Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board for the Employment Readiness initiative.
· $100,000 to Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board for the Youth Employment and Engagement initiative.
· $75,000 to Black Health Coalition for the Trauma-Informed Care Assistance and Referral initiative.
· $30,000 to the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative Micro Summits initiative.
· $2,500 to Urban Strategies, Inc. for the Youth Police Listening Circles Initiative.
· $10,000 to Lead2Change for the Learn, Earn and Achieve with Police program.
· $32,500 to Word of Hope Ministries for the Milwaukee Job Training and Placement program.
Alderman Hamilton said the CDBG funding approved today is leveraged by more than $500,000 in resources allocated in the 2015 budget through the amendment process (and the zones were also approved) with the support of the Mayor and Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Willie C. Wade, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Common Council President Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Terry L.
Witkowski, Alderman Joe Davis, Sr. and Alderman Robert J. Bauman.
In a related move, the Council today also approved an ordinance revising the composition of the Black Male Achievement Advisory Council (BMAAC).
The membership of the advisory council will increase from 12 to 16 members. The new members will be the city treasurer, a representative of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, a representative of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, and two members representing the philanthropic community.
The ordinance also expands the purpose of the BMAAC to include making recommendations relating to the My Brother’s Keeper presidential initiative. The My Brother’s Keeper initiative is an interagency effort to measurably improve the expected educational and life outcomes for and address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color. The My Brother’s Keeper initiative encourages communities to implement a coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategy for improving the life outcomes of all young people to ensure that they can reach their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born.