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Organization makes the dream of home ownership a reality for local families

Stephanie Graham, Courtny Gerrish

Photo: Video by

Organization makes the dream of home ownership a reality for local families

CREATED Sep. 16, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep. 16, 2013

MILWAUKEE - The Chang family is very proud of their home, which is located in Milwaukee's Martin Drive Neighborhood.  Speaking through their translator and realtor Blia Cha, the Chang family, who are Hmong, explain how exciting it was to first step inside the home last year.  "He says he only came to this country 5 years ago, and then he feel that, when he first step in he thought, 'This is it for his family.'"

The Changs are just one of hundreds of local families who are getting the chance to experience the pride of home ownership, thanks to an organization called ACTS Housing.  Carl Quindel is the Executive Director.  He explains, "So that's really the trick to it, in Milwaukee we're really in one of the few places in the world where you can own a home for hundreds of dollars less a month than when you're renting."

ACTS is a non-profit, real estate brokerage.  They help local families purchase Central City homes for only $3,500.

Quindel admits the homes are not for everyone.  "It's gonna be a tough house to either rehab, or just in a market where homes don't usually sell."

On this particular day, volunteers from Wells Fargo are helping to fix up a house on 41st Street in Washington Park.  Quindel says a key to the program's success is that families are expected to move in and make the home and the neighborhood better.

"You take that worst house on the block, and you make it something that a family kind of appreciates, and it's their home.  You start to really turn something around," he explains.

That's what the Chang family is doing - fixing up their new home and making it a safe and comfortable place for their family.  It's a lesson the Chang's teenage son Chai is taking to heart.

We asked him, "Do you hope to have your own house someday?"

Chai responds, "Yeah!  I hope I have a nice house, and backyard."

For Carl, working for ACTS is a chance to give back to his hometown.  He says, "I really believe in this city a lot, and I want to play a role, whatever role that can be, in continuing to make it as great as can be."