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Carbon intensive week of broadcasting focusing on Milwaukee's inner core a city within a city w AJ at the University of Wisconsin brings you another in a series of programs examining the problems people and conditions in our inner cities. The man who handles the condemnation of buildings. And raising buildings and faxes of this told me privately the way those people live down there. They have food stuck to the floors and things like this who cares you know. This is been his attitude. He did he hasn't been this bad when I come in with other people from the community. He will someplace talk about what is a cause he said those people these people. Those people who live that type of people that live in a building like that why should we worry about it. We asked him had he ever met the people who lived in that building. He said Well no. Milwaukee's black community is to a large extent isolated and contained in an area bounded roughly by Holton street on the East Twenty seventh Street on the west Juneau on the south and Capitol drive on. This is the area
called the inner core. In the next half hour residents of Milwaukee's in a car will describe various aspects of one of their most pressing problems finding a house to live in. The main problem is just a first of all there's deep there's very little adequate housing in the inner core. Generally speaking the housing is very rundown. I would say that approximately 40 percent at any rate is in just such bad state that nobody should even be living there. The rest of that is livable but and so many cases it's certainly not a place where any white middle class family would agree to live at the time we first move there. My landlady promised me that we were going to have all our windows put in the house. We had all the windows in the downstairs living quarters put in but the windows to the attic were not all and in fact none of them were put in.
So therefore we only thing that kept the house warm was my gas stove which I had to heat the complete house with after my baby was born. The heater that she practice base heater that she promised to have fixed was never fixed. The windows in the attic as I say she never fixed that. Also we have broken windows in the basement that she never fixed. And if it wasn't for the door leading to the attic the can the House would have. Was that the way I was here in the house it would have been really too cold to even live there. The place was quite disturbed when I moved in here and lice is roaches and everything was just a mess in the Nano he never cleaned it up and he not family and they had to do all economy and help. And time. When I moved in here he promised to wear fancy he would fist to play stuff but he never had a stick to his comfort. The lady upstairs moved out because of the fact that she had no
windows at all of her windows in her apartment were not completely and and there was a lady also. I say right next door to me who has the same housing problem but her land. They lower is not the same as mine. She has eight children in her bed and one of her children's bedroom. It rains in there just like it rains outside. The landlord just need a place of location and he gets his real contender later that he gets a really long when we get to our landlord is collecting I am $55 a month to Michelle now with $55 he should do something for his friends. I don't wait for it. For my wife and myself for the people upstairs now ever since we moved in here he promised he would change it up stairs and those people are still waiting for the paint. But you could see that the. Buildings alone were breaking they also apartment was I mean you say for instance holes in the
floors plaster falling down pipes in the hole in the second floor bathroom floor where water leaks right through this is an emergency violation Lisa There's plumbing leaks tied up with it which there was a. Bathroom floor second floor not impervious to water. Northwest bedroom second floor had plastered the facts. Ford fortress in disrepair exterior trim needs painting lower bathroom. Floor and an impervious to water a door that doesn't even fit the door jamb with large holes in it that resulted in a $79 heating bill for the month of January. The rent in the place at the time was $75. The welfare department paying an additional 79 for heat hundred fifty four dollars a month she could have been living in a penthouse. Instead of a dump with rats and roaches and everything.
The place that I stayed at was really completely rundown in every sense of the word rundown the bathroom need fixing you could take a bath because the bath tub was really bad out of condition the bathroom the toilet was leaking all the time so you really couldn't even go to the bathroom. The army into a decent place that you know or anything like that so that was pretty bad. And like I said the rooms Well the House really wasn't. Well I guess. Put together because it's very easy. It was very easy for it to get cold and my I found out that my furniture was beginning to work from the dampness of the place so it was really I think it was really quite a travel place really I think to even live and to have to pay $65 a month which I mean include have to pay all your utilities and everything and nothing else was included. She had contacted her landlord within three months probably once a week trying to get the man to do something about the repair work there were
there was a window out there was covered up by a board instead of a new window. There is no linoleum on the floor there was no sidewalk leading to the house and because of this any time it would rain or snow if there be mud puddles actually front of the house there was plaster falling out of the walls. Painting needed to be done. And none of this repair work had been taken care of. I spoke with the landlord and discovered that the landlord involved was one who had been fooled is in court two or three times a week because of failure to meet health standards. As far as his housing was concerned he don't live in summer. But he comes over here grabs your rent money anyways I mean that's that's what all these people in this neighborhood are complaining of these landlords to the city to raise money and charge high rent and don't fix up and using them to things I don't like
about Milwaukee is the fact that their landlord situation here I think that. The absentee landlords I think they are very very lenient with them because the fact that I have since I've been here and I've been around to several of the poorer areas and see the condition of the houses and how they are in such rundown condition I can't understand why the people or the health department would allow a landlord to even collect rent or even have a house where people are living in such poor conditions. And when the People's lives are often depended on where they live and also when the children have to suffer because of the fact that. I feel like the administrative department in the public house Housing Authority. I too am not as concerned I feel as they should be because if we did have didn't have these problems like we do now as far as absentee landlords I don't think I cry away would probably be as bad or I'm juvenile delinquency would be as bad because the fact that people
had the way they live and how they live has a lot of pain to depend on the way they act aspires to our society. And when you have a perp person who is in a low income area making not how and making ends meet it's very hard for him to even want to better himself or even try and get out of the situation he is in because he feels that no one cares and nobody is going to do anything anyway. Generally when I do call. Landlords as far as repair work when people come into the office requesting such service I get the story about how people don't keep up their property and their buildings are going to be torn down anyhow within the next three to five years and they don't feel it wise on their part to expend a great deal of money on repair work when their buildings are going to be torn down. The only power that we have which is pretty evident is to reported to the health department for the problem there once again is that the fines
that are levied against these people are not strong enough for them to really feel obligated to do anything about it because it's cheaper for them to go into court buy times a week and pay between 1 and $10 fine even though they could find them up to $100 anyhow than it is for them to do the repair work business area and they realize this. So they just keep going back to court as far as a slum landlord. We've been concerned with one particular owns 99 properties 96 of them in the inner core. The houses. Are worth about half a million dollars. With the current assessments and assessment ratios they makes and runnels. We figured after swimming that he puts nothing into the property she simply makes his mortgage payments and insurance payments and whatnot. It's better than a hundred thousand dollars left each year in the business. Now a lot of that would
come repairs if you can hold those repairs down to a minimum. Then he's going to make quite a nice income out of it. Well he has been able to hold him down to almost nothing because the courts are the Help to Buy only when they issue orders against this man. He. Is familiar enough with the way the business operates that he knows the various dodges to use. He will begin to make certain repairs the health department thinks he is repairing it. Then he quits after they're you know finished watching. If they take him in the court which they did princes. Let me give you the history of one house in September of 65. The house was surveyed by the health department they noted. Eight violations of the health code. Housing Code. They didn't win when they issue orders they usually have 20 to 30 days to repair this. This was
in September 65. They didn't come back until May 1st of 66. So they got around the scene it was repaired naturally nothing was repaired. They issued new orders for and they didn't come back again until October. To see if it complied. He hadn't complied. Finally they noted that there had been an offense committed and I told her that's 13 months after they first looked at the house. They file a complaint. The course of the case came to court along with seven others against the same guy. On November 14th 66 he got an adjournment the judge who handles most housing cases here will always give adjournments a few from this you're going to you know I'm going to fix the house this and that was adjourned till January 3rd. The whole state cases came to court January 3rd. In this particular case he was fined a dollar. An 11 15 court costs because of the housing pattern in Milwaukee. People cannot move out of the corps and yet there have been 15000 people
displaced by the highways going through and they have been moved out of the corps they say they're remaining in the Corps but they're just more people in less rooms and this base problem is extremely bad. And the root problem is just that there is no place for people to go and so they stay here and some landlords know that they've got a thing going for them because they know that these people can't move out that they've got to move someplace and particularly in the cases of large families which you know most of the people in the Korea area do have anywhere from five children. And this case particularly large families it's extremely difficult to find them a place to live even in a three bedroom situation when I called to check on the property. Most of the landlords insists that there are no more than three to four children in a three bedroom apartment. And there aren't too many through bedroom apartments to begin with but then when they set limitations as they do family size and the number of children it makes it an
impossible task. Usually when you go somewhere and you tell him that you have 11 children they all say well the places that we have is not big enough. And I just couldn't help me. That was. The only thing that I could hear wherever I went you know we don't have any place big boy. I just got so disappointed when they said they didn't have anything figured out I just didn't question many further about the places they seemed to be real sympathetic I mean when you go and talk to you you know. But some cases I think when you leave you know they all say well she's looking for a place we can help. It is not accurate and just a joke or missing on Brown Street. It had four bedrooms and they told me I had too many keys. And I only have four children. He said I could and they would let me have it because I had too many children. And how helpful.
They had four bedroom living room dining room kitchen it was very large. Like I've been looking for a new place for the better in three months and I never have gotten a place share I mean one place I was promised to get and I went to this place and I look there to God told me to come over. Then when I got over there I looked at this place and he says I made sure you have laid asses I have just known as 6 word to me now and he says. Black How old are you not alone ages he says well he's a who you who live with just unknowns as me and I cheer and then my mother she's she's I have for you now have been me out because some purple and he says oh well he said we don't wreck to colored people's classes thank you so very much. I says You had me right and I'm not out in the cabin and he's going to refuse to let to let me read to house and he says
we just don't do business with colored people's. Messes why not and he says well I just saw this too but I just looked over and I says Well I says I'll leave it up to God just on this I can do is leave it up to him. Unlike the Ranters those who own their own home or might like to build in the inner core have other problems. These are caused by a decreasing market values and highway expansion programs then not truly savings and loan association who make loans and in a corps. At the present time and I can understand this really I can't because there would have been difficulty. We can't get insurance. We haven't a great deal of trouble in getting insurance coverage and. The market value whatever causes it to go down this probably has happened in every city. I don't know where it has or not.
But the market value of the property that we would have appraised by professional appraisers say for $15000 13 years ago and most our mortgages were made for 13 years and seven months $9 a month a thousand. Today they will praise for a half hour or less. That's right and if you have to take one of these practices back you see what difficulties you in will have a real estate on your hand perhaps it has been well maintained because they haven't had money enough to keep it maintained the way it should be. And in addition to that the market value has been lowered so much. This is very good. Hard to understand why the years I don't understand it. I never downplay the expressway coming through has had something to do with it. And better city if you if the city comes through and they want to provide some sort of development.
They won't give you a good appraisal. You know of the taxes it is said that the assessment is supposed to be approximately 55 percent of the market value. Well in a good many instances some of these people have not even been given this less value when they came through to buy their property. They have simply taken them not only the city development but the expressway commission while private homeowners worry about decreasing market values and highway expansion programs. The occupancy of public housing have still other. Problems break it and we really care. You just get to the corner of the foot there don't move don't break this bill and the cause of course is great and
steady. And Pete and white are so close to the wall and you can you can spin whether they live in public or private housing inner city residents all share in their view of the inner core landscape. I landscape dotted with abandoned houses gray and dingy. Some of these houses are burned out. Now there's a just boarded up. Whenever their condition lead one more problem to a neighborhood already overburdened with problems this land and its development. I have a home
to do this. Oh. Most of the bacon I use back
s a place from the brink I wonder sometimes how some of these cars that eventually want to RV get rented out to a young teenager who looks older you know he's 19 or 20 and me becomes a regular hang out. He's going to get some kind of printer somewhere and there are parties this summer might look very little food was a landmark and as most landlords are concerned about is actually in the house getting the house occupied. As long as I can find a not too concerned about who's occupying the house or what goes on. Because you know for example most of the people if they complain nothing is done this is a big thing for me. That House wanted to go with me. So we
are looking at the house. You know when you think in terms of abandoned housing program we had here I don't beef and one here we had to own more about 20 houses than they were standing there for us for about two years. And any number of fires actually a lot of our students were. Actually Skip school in these houses and do any number of things. For example we had a number of fires. In fact there's one church here that was an old church there. That. They're sort of on had so many fires in it and I think that when the
contractors finally got to it I had to hit it once and this is this is how bad this is. Thank you for everything. I wonder I haven't just looked across the street. Sure if you're driving down the street you know what to Lookout street my goodness you know I don't feel like I'm just I'm surrounded now abandoned among many other things poor housing is a constant reminder to the ghetto dwellers that he is poor. His resentment and hostility are hardly lessened by the difficulties of achieving a solution since right now no way can I keep this one. We've got to know him in the back in the front room because a stuffy a
dinner was but written torn up. And so my wife and I spent a little bit of money and we we put it in ourselves because the landlord when I painted the gas from the fix it up as good as I could. And then he turns around he tells me that I didn't even do fine art work around the house. And I doing a pretty nasty language when he starts talking that he expects you to fix things up and then. You promise me so many times so that he would tell you aren't And here's your take a penny off of my right for doing that one. So right now I just give up. I wasn't going to do. After like the after like they just don't care what's happening to us. They just don't care because they know I got to live in the US they don't have to live in it. They live in comfort of places they live in intelligent places. Nice neighbor less clean
neighborhoods decent and a curious guy kind of dismissed claims they don't care about us they don't care what was we love our goals in the garbage you know where. Just long as we pay them the reason. If they would get out and say well I'm not going to live in this area I'm not going to be satisfied and content with just a little of nothing or what people give me or what county where fair provides for me. I'm going to go out and try and find a house for myself or for my family or a job that I would better provide income for me to live off of and get out of the situation I am living in. I think they will won't have as much power as we do have as far as poor housing problems because when people make themselves satisfied and content with a poor situation I think this also contributes to poor housing a door problem because people will not either talk or are afraid to say anything about their land or if they're afraid to
either be victims or or something like that but I for myself I'm going to I'm not going to let anybody. Run over me in anywhere as far as housing problem or anything else. I feel that if I have to depend on anybody else then I'm not much of a woman. First of all I would in their strong open housing bill which would enable people to move out of the core area at some time. The situation right now as far as I'm concerned housing is the major problem in the walky area. If a child doesn't have any place to go when he comes home from school to study he can study whether he wants to or not and soon loses the motivation that everybody talks about but knows very little about when they're talking about it he has no place to study there's just no room for him to study. In order for a man to keep going to work every day he's got to see that he is reaping the rewards that everybody else reaps when they grow up to work eight hours a day. And if a
man doesn't have a decent place to move his family he finds little agrees and receives other rewards he finds little reason to go out more hours a day hard. If this is the major thing at it this is the number one thing that has to be done. Somehow we've got to enforce a very strong open housing bill on the floor here you know to me it doesn't make much sense to have open housing if you can't afford to move into a different neighborhood. And this is why open housing is failing every other major city because people just can't afford to move on. They could pass any type of a housing bill and I wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. Yes I'm not that's all they did was have an open housing bill 90 percent of the bright people would still be in the ghetto because they couldn't afford to move out. You have been listening to house to live in a program drawn from interviews made in Milwaukee and originally heard over w A.J. the University of Wisconsin as part of that station's intensive week of broadcasting focusing on the inner core
city within a city can almost speaking this is the national educational radio network.
The inner core: City within a city
A House to Live In
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3596. This prog.: A House to Live In. An exploration of inner city residents' opinions concerning housing, renter-landlord relations, public housing, urban renewal, and open housing.
Social Issues
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-34-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:29
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Chicago: “The inner core: City within a city; A House to Live In,” 1968-10-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “The inner core: City within a city; A House to Live In.” 1968-10-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: The inner core: City within a city; A House to Live In. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from