Since the 1930s, Harambee has been a hub for African American culture and heritage. Originally settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, the African American community grew over the years and reached its height by the 1970s. Harambee was particularly attractive to working class families because of the modest and tidy single-family homes and proximity to downtown.
The neighborhood is supported by the Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative (HGNI), a community-based nonprofit coalition with the mission of assisting residents of the Harambee neighborhood in realizing their vision for the community. As one of LISC Milwaukee’s Sustainable Communities, the HGNI prioritizes building resident capacity in its effort to support this vibrant north side neighborhood.
Through the community informed Neighborhood Action Plan, the HGNI and its coalition of nonprofit agencies and resident groups are improving the quality of life in Harambee through creative resident and organizational collaborations, neighborhood specific home ownership resources, and a variety of other quality of life projects and programs designed to form lasting connections and sustainable community development.
The HGNI focuses on the following service area: North/South between Capital Drive and Center Street, and East/West between Holton Street and Interstate 43.
Riverworks, the fiscal agent of HGNI, is a community-based nonprofit that partners with the HGNI in serving the Harambee neighborhood, though its service area also includes the Riverwest neighborhood and the Riverworks Business Improvement District (BID). Portions of Harambee are in a City-designated Targeted Investment Neighborhood (TIN), which offers partially forgivable loans for home repairs to landlords and home owners who qualify. Riverworks is also a member of the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative, which is guided by principles that promote social connections as a way to empower residents to manage the physical conditions and image of their neighborhood while supporting a stable real estate market.
An investment from the Kresge Foundation supports the extension of the Beerline Recreational Trail as a part of a Creative Placemaking initiative that is transforming this once abandoned railroad corridor into public recreational space. This investment facilitates new strategies related to the foreclosure crisis and offers positive solutions by transforming problem properties into opportunities.
Between a being a designated TIN, part of the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative, and a Creative Placemaking investment, it’s an exciting time to purchase a home in Harambee to experience all that this community has to offer!
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The Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative
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The funding source of this activity is the Milwaukee Homeownership Consortium and Freddie Mac.