In 2008, Mayor Tom Barrett created the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative (MFPI) to develop and implement a centralized and comprehensive strategy to address the impacts of foreclosures in Milwaukee. Mayor Barrett crafted the MFPI as a public-private partnership which enlisted more than 100 individuals representing lenders, government agencies, Realtors, housing counseling agencies, neighborhood organizations, developers, local universities, foundations and residents. The work of the MFPI was divided among three action oriented work groups charged with long-range foreclosure prevention and legislative efforts, intervention initiatives to aid homeowners at risk of foreclosure, and the need for stabilization in neighborhoods impacted by rising numbers of vacant and foreclosed homes. The MFPI has achieved a number of successes and its efforts have been recognized by the Public Policy Forum, the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation and have been featured in a National League of Cities publication highlighting foreclosure initiatives throughout the country.
MFPI successes to date include (but are not limited to) the creation of a court-based mediation program to provide services to Milwaukee homeowners facing foreclosure; the launch of a permanent Homeownership Consortium to promote and preserve homeownership and the passage of legislation at the state and local levels to preserve vacant properties and protect the rights of tenants during foreclosure and to protect homeowners from mortgage rescue scams; partnerships to assist in the implementation of programs for the almost $40 million of federally-funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program resources that were received by the City, which focus on returning foreclosed homes to productive use; creation of a special enforcement/problem property program within the Department of Neighborhood Services to address problem properties in collaboration with the Milwaukee Police Department, Community Prosecutors and other City Departments and the creation of a “one stop” website to provide information and resources to those impacted by foreclosure, as well as those interested in purchasing foreclosed homes.