Since 2018, UEDA has hosted the Emerging Topics in Economic Development Series to provide frequent and intentional opportunities for our members and partners to connect, learn new ideas, and feature best practices in the sector.  

Our 2021 series featured recent housing development and planning efforts in Milwaukee, highlighting different yet collective approaches to affordable housing work. Below you will find a brief recap and links to resources for each session.

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the following sponsors for their support of this educational series.


UEDA 2021 Emerging Topics Series Sponsors are Chase, US Bank, We Energies, Associated Bank and PNC Bank


Session 1: Revitalization Through Preservation | July 13
Husch Blackwell and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance joined us for an informative session on how to approach different types of historic preservation projects, the benefits of using historic tax credits, and also received an in-depth look at the Milwaukee Soldiers Home restoration project. View the session recording here. And more recently, the Soldier’s Home project was recognized in December 2021 with an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation by HUD and highlighted in a recent story on WUWM.

Session 2: City of Milwaukee HUD Consolidated Plan Navigators | September 15
This session took a deep dive into the City of Milwaukee’s HUD-approved 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, sharing what types of data are included, how to find and use that data, and how community-based organizations and private sector partners can align their work to complement the goals and outcomes outlined in the plan. The UEDA team created 10 topic “navigators” designed to help people easily access information in the plan. View the session recording here and find the full plan and Navigator tools at

Session 3: Milwaukee’s Collective Affordable Housing Strategic Plan | October 22
Our last session featured Milwaukee’s Collective Affordable Housing Strategic Plan (released in September 2021), and was held in partnership with the Community Development Alliance (CDA) and City of Milwaukee. It was an active, virtual session with attendees providing feedback on how to best structure implementation of the three top approaches that have been identified as priorities for 2022. View the session recording here and presentation slides here.

In August of 2021, Take Root Milwaukee (TRM) celebrated 10+ years of helping Milwaukee citizens purchase, repair and maintain their homes. The celebration, which was postponed from 2020, brought together participants from over 50 organizations to reflect on the progress of the program and envision what the future of homeownership in Milwaukee could look like.

Take Root Milwaukee was launched in 2010 as a partnership with the City of Milwaukee and Freddie Mac. It is a collaborative effort, from a diverse group of organizations, to preserve and promote sustainable diverse neighborhoods by encouraging and maintaining homeownership.

“The birth of Take Root Milwaukee came out of the foreclosure crisis,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “It allowed realtors, counselors, neighbors and community groups to work with the city to stabilize housing in Milwaukee.”

The celebration welcomed Joaquin Altoro, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), who provided guests with inspiring opening remarks, and Mayor Tom Barrett, who has been a strong advocate and supporter of the network since its launch in 2010.

Krisit Luzar, UEDA Executive Director, and Johanna Jimenez, Take Root Milwaukee Program Manager, shared insight into how this network was formed and how it has continued to grow and evolve over the years to meet the needs of the community. It is currently a program of UEDA.

Additionally, members of the TRM Resource & Oversight Committee recognized both Kristi Luzar and Jessica Wetzel of UEDA with a Certificate of Recognition for their commitment to Take Root Milwaukee and the success it has brought to the Milwaukee-area residents it serves.

Over the past decade, Take Root Milwaukee has brought together 54+ organizational members, representing homeownership counseling agencies, financial institutions, realtors, local government, neighborhood organizations and other community partners.  Together, they have helped 7,600+ individuals and families become homeowners, and nearly 7,000 individuals and families complete critical repairs in their homes.

To learn more about Take Root Milwaukee, check out our 10 Year Impact Report and watch our Anniversary Celebration video below.

On September 16, 2021 Bank On Greater Milwaukee (BOGM) celebrated their two-year anniversary with a virtual awards ceremony that recognized six local entities for their efforts to improve the overall financial health of the Milwaukee community.

As a program of the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA), Bank On Greater Milwaukee serves as a collaboration between financial institutions, community-based organizations and local governments to provide residents safe, affordable, and certified banking accounts.

“A basic transaction account is an important first step to participating in the financial mainstream”, said Constance Alberts, Bank On Greater Milwaukee Program Manager. “We are extremely fortunate to engage a coalition of community organizations, banks, credit unions, and governmental entities who are dedicated to ensuring more households belong to the financial mainstream by developing low-barrier accounts and providing supportive financial education services.”

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