ACTS Housing's mission is to promote affordable homeownership that fosters a low-income family's ability to be self-empowered, thereby reducing community blight, neighborhood deterioration, and poverty. The strategy of ACTS is to generate homeownership opportunities for inner-city residents within a targeted neighborhood so that an entire community can be transformed and sustained.
Central Neighborhood (I-94 West to North Ave. and 12th St. to Sherman Blvd.)
In 1992, St. Michael’s church started a pilot housing program to encourage families to purchase homes around the church. At that time, several older church members wished to sell their homes. In late 1995, three Milwaukee Central City churches -- St. Rose (33rd and Michigan), St. Michael (24th and Cherry), and St. Francis of Assisi (4th and Brown) formally incorporated ACTS as the non-profit vehicle through which they would collaborate to promote economic self-sufficiency of church members and neighborhood residents. ACTS employs an African-American Homeownership Coordinator, an Asian licensed real estate broker, and a Caucasian Rehab Manager who target this area.
North Side Neighborhood (North Ave. to Capitol and Holton St. to 20th St.)
The north side membership formed in January of 2000. The north side churches originally consisted of All Saints (4060 N. 26th), Blessed Trinity (4717 N. 38th), and the Dominican Center (2470 W. Locust St.). The Dominican Center now operates its own program while continuing to collaborate with ACTS. In the spring of 2005, St. Martin de Porres (128 W. Burleigh St.) and St. James in Brookfield began to collaborate with the north side membership. ACTS employs an African-American licensed real estate saleswoman who targets this area.
South Side Neighborhood (Oklahoma to I94 West and I-94 South to 35th St.)
The south side membership formed in the September of 2000. The south side churches consist of Ascension Lutheran Church (1236 S. Layton Blvd.), Faith Lutheran (1000 S. Layton Blvd.), St. Rafael the Archangel (2059 S. 33rd), and Prince of Peace/Principe de Paz (1138 S. 25 Street). ACTS CDC employs a Latina licensed real estate saleswoman who targets this area.
Other Neighborhoods (Inside City of Milwaukee, Outside South, Central, & North Areas)
ACTS has no participating churches outside of our targeted areas. However, families who purchased early in the central neighborhood were rewarded by increasing values, and many have used this equity to purchase homes outside our target areas, particularly in the northwest neighborhoods. While we do promote the assets of our target areas, highlighting the new investment there, the proximity to downtown, the affordability of the housing stock, and the potential for real increases in equity, we do not steer our clients exclusively toward opportunities inside our neighborhoods. Clients are free to choose which homes they wish to see.
ACTS was born as the neighborhood around St. Michael's Church wasravaged by disinvestment in housing. This activity generated manyvacant homes that were deemed useless by the City and the privatemarket. Through a unique partnership with the City of Milwaukee, ACTS introduced local residents in the neighborhood to these vacant homes,showed them how to buy and rehab them,convinced local banks that they would be excellent customers for their best mortgage programs, and then stepped back and witnessed the rebirth of a neighborhood. Where no private market existed, ACTS was able to create a viable realestate market that is now self-sustaining. The norm in this communityhas become homeownership
ACTS has traditionally worked with low-income families andindividuals who were denied access to the home ownership market forvarious reasons. Our staffworks with families and individuals who have made mistakes and poordecisions concerning their personal finances. Each Specialist istrained as a credit counselor in order to assist clients with theirefforts to become qualified for bank purchase loans. Staff assistseach participant with a credit repair road map that leads to solidcredit and the ability to acquire bank mortgage financing.
Our work has affected over 5,000 individuals, many of them children, byproviding opportunities to learn responsibility, pride, andself-confidence. Studies have found that children living in owneroccupied homes perform better in school. Neighborhoods where familiesare homeowners form more stable communities.
Constance Alberts began working out of the St. Michael's office in July of 2008. Over the past 15 years, she has worked as an educator teaching and developing curriculum for financial literacy. She has worn many hats over these 15 years including lender, homebuying counselor, family financial educator, credit counselor, tax professional and now manages ACTS Housing Counseling program. She has an accounting degree from the University of Phoenix and recently completed a Graduate Program at Marian University on Organizational Leadership.
Fatima Benhaddou began working part-time out of the St. Michael's office in September of 2012 as an ACTS’ Rehab Specialist. She expects to graduate from UW-Milwaukee with a Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning in 2013.
Blia Cha speaks English, Hmong, Laotian & some Thai. She has a real estate broker license, and is one of the very few Southeast Asian women in the State of Wisconsin with this license. She works full-time at St. Michael’s church as a Housing Specialist. Through many years of training provided by ACTS Senior Advisor and current Board Member, John Worm, she has developed into a full service credit and homeownership counselor as well as a manager of small and large rehab projects for owner-occupants. She offers these services in addition to providing her real estate-related services. She has worked with the ACTS Housing Program since 1994.
Michael Gosman started volunteering for ACTS Housing in early 2012, joining ACTS as its full-time Assistant Director in 2013. Mike is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and joined ACTS Housing after spending three years as a finance associate at the law firm Whyte Hischboeck Dudek S.C. Mike serves as president of an alumni baord at Indiana University, his undergraduate alma mater, and also on the board of Hillel Milwaukee.
Larry Kilmer II began working out of the St. Michael's office in September of 2010 as ACTS’ Rehab Manager. Larry graduated from UWM with a BA in Architectural Studies in 2005, a Masters degree in Architecture, as well as a Masters degree in Urban Planning in 2009. Larry has worked for over five years in architectural and design firms in Milwaukee. Through these experiences, as well as graduate studies, Larry has worked with many neighborhood organizations throughout Milwaukee on design and planning projects. Outside of ACTS, Larry is a member of a local non-profit organic farm Board of Directors and enjoys frequenting Wisconsin’s State Parks.
Mary Leach-Sumlin began working as a Housing Specialist managing ACTS' St. Martin De Porres office in December of 2007. She has a real estate license. Mary also completed the Credit Counseling for Maximum Results Training held by NeighborWorks Center for HomeownershipEducation and Counseling, a national homebuyer training organization. Mary is a member of the Finance Committee at Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee and has a BS in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University.
Rev. Dennis J. Lewis is ACTS' Founder. Pastor of both St. Michael and St. Rose Parishes, and works as ACTS' Development & Church Outreach Specialist.
Carl Quindel speaks Spanish, is a licensed real estate broker, and is the Executive Director for ACTS. After graduating in 2004 with a degree in Physics and Math from Brown University, he volunteered for ACTS Housing programs. He participated in the development of three companies related to real estate before starting full-time employment as ACTS Executive Director in 2006.
Francisco Rios speaks English and Spanish. He is in charge of Special Projects at ACTS southside Office Francisco also provides clerical support for Southside office. Francisco has a wealth of real estate and residential construction experience, which he uses to provide expertise on required maintenance and home improvement projects for new homeowners.
Hilaria Rios speaks English and Spanish. She has a salesperson’s license and has worked full-time as a Housing Specialist starting in the year 2000. She received 4 years of training from ACTS Senior Advisor and current Board Member, John Worm, on credit and homeownership counseling as well as real estate brokerage.
Our sincere thanks to the following organizations and donors who have supported the ACTS Housing Program:
Our sincere thanks to the following organizations and donors who have supported ACTS: