Following Milwaukee’s Federal Funding

By George F. Sanders, Community Activist

A.  Missing Community Development public funds

While the issue appears forgotten about, Milwaukee City government has still not explained in any way what happened to the $83,000,000.00 million dollars of the HUD- awarded Westlawn redevelopment funds, which were covered under HUD Section 3 program.

What is Section 3?

Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, which recognizes that HUD funds are typically one of the largest sources of federal funding expended in communities through the form of grants, loans, entitlement allocations and other forms of financial assistance. Section 3 is intended to ensure that when employment or contracting opportunities are generated because a covered project or activity necessities the employment of additional persons or the awarding of contracts for work, preference must be given to low- and very low-income persons or business concerns residing in the community where the project is located.  http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/section3/FAQ08.pdf

B.   Milwaukee Public Works takes over $7,000,000 from $15,000,000 Community CDBG grant

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Block Grant, since 1968, is designed for projects and activities that benefit low- and moderate-income people, the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or other community development activities to address an urgent threat to health or safety. CDBG funds may be used for community development activities, construction and maintenance of neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings, public services, and economic development and job creation/retention activities. CDBG funds can also be used for preservation and restoration of historic properties in low-income neighborhoods. http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/User/jsteve/2015-recomm-print-cdbg.pdf

Milwaukee to use federal EB-5 Visa program for downtown renovations – not, as is mandated by law, in high unemployment areas

What is the EB-5 Visa? Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise.

Typically, “Eligible individuals” include foreign investors who can get visas to obtain an EB-5 Immigrant Visa and ultimately qualify for permanent resident status in the United States by a minimum invested amount of $1,000,000, or at least $500,000 where the investment is being made in a “Targeted employment area.” This is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on May 07, 2016

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