Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NHC member places youth at the affordable housing forefront

photo by: HACM/Paul Williams
by Andrea Nesby, National Housing Conference

NHC member Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM)’s YouthBuild program aims to help teens and young adults develop building skills while rehabilitating homes for low-income or homeless families. Through this program, participants are developing construction skills to create a path for employment and giving back to their community.

YouthBuild USA, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, first formed the program in 1990. Today, the program is sub-contracted to multiple agencies nationwide, including HACM, to provide job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24. The U.S. Department of Labor is now a primary funder. 

Since its launch in 2015, participants have successfully completed rehabilitation of one home for a family. Starting out, participants built two dog houses to develop their professional roofing, framing and siding skills. When it comes to personal development, participants express gaining a sense of pride in their work, with one participant saying, “We want to make sure everything’s nice and neat when the new family moves in.” A total of 20 participants have completed HACM’s YouthBuild program, and recruitment for the 2017 cohort is currently under way.

Milwaukee’s YouthBuild program is one example of how a community can be innovative in adopting solutions to neighborhood restoration. NHC’s Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force (RNTF) convenes members from communities nationwide to develop solutions to restore neighborhoods that are still struggling to recover from underinvestment and neglect. We encourage representatives from communities, who are engaged in programs like YouthBuild, to join RNTF. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Kaitlyn Snyder at ksnyder@nhc.org

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