The Milwaukee Common Council may have held over making a decision on the Milwaukee Streetcar until 2015 in yesterday morning's meeting, but it did approve a recommendation from the Community and Economic Development Committee to allocate $300,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding to the Milwaukee Promise initiative.
Coming from legislation authored by Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, the Milwaukee Promise initiative is a multifaceted city effort to address systemic poverty, joblessness, poor health, crime and low educational achievement in city neighborhoods.
The initiative will address four city "Promise Zones," located on the map above.
In those areas combined, more than 45 percent of households make less than $25,000 annually, the median household income is less than $26,000 and, in some parts, more than 56 percent of the total population and more than 71 percent of children live in poverty.
"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," Ald. Hamilton said.
Hamilton and the Black Male Achievement Advisory Council (BMAAC) also recommended specific Milwaukee Promise funding targets, which were approved in yesterday's council meeting as well. Those targets include:
- $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.
The Common Counil also passed an ordinance revising the composition of the BMAAC, increasing its number of members from 12 to 16. 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 BMAAC's purpose to include making recommendations relating to the My Brother’s Keeper presidential initiative – 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.