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Freddie Mac’s ‘Take Root’ Programs Have Been Successful in Hardest Hit Areas

house-in-lifesaverFreddie Mac's Take Root program in Milwaukee, one of the areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, has resulted in more than 16,400 low- to moderate-income residents being able to buy or fix a home, strengthen finances, or avoid foreclosure, according to an announcement on Freddie Mac's blog on Tuesday.

The Take Root Milwaukee program is one of three such programs Freddie Mac launched in the wake of the housing crisis. The other two are in Chicago and South Florida, which were two areas also hit hard by foreclosures.

Freddie Mac launched Take Root Milwaukee five years ago, at the height of the foreclosure wave, with the idea that government agencies, financial institutions, and the real estate industry could unite to protect residential neighborhoods by forming a single network that residents can contact with one click or phone number.

The program's hotline, which can be reached at (414) 921-4149, and website connect, on average per month, more than 1,400 residents to professionals and resources provided by 32 member organizations, according to Freddie Mac.

"Take Root Milwaukee's success gives communities everywhere a road map for giving consumers a one-stop resource for buying, financing, and owning a home," said Danny Gardner, single-family VP of affordable lending and access to credit at Freddie Mac. "Freddie Mac is proud to be a part of Take Root and to move housing forward in Milwaukee."

In five years since Take Root Milwaukee was launched, the program has provided homebuyer and foreclosure prevention resources, information, and assistance to 15,984 individuals; provided more than 12,700 individuals and families with homebuyer education and counseling; and helped more than 2,600 first-time buyers purchase a home, according to Freddie Mac. About 31 percent of those first-time buyers purchased a foreclosed home that helped stabilize Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Also in the last five years, lending in minority neighborhoods has increased by 78 percent and increased in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods by 37 percent.

"Take Root is a success on many levels. It has united government, the real estate industry, and financial institutions in the collaborative effort to limit the damage of residential foreclosures on Milwaukee," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. "And its ongoing work positively affects individuals, neighborhoods, and our entire city."

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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