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Unlocking Racine: a year-long storytelling project about Racine’s housing crisis. And we need your help to fund it.

Denise Lockwood

Owner of the Racine County Eye

Racine — like many other communities — is in a housing crisis. Home prices have skrocketed, rents have somehow become more expensive than owning a home, and neighborhoods are in trouble. But the problem goes much deeper than that.

Here are just a few stories I have gathered.

  • This past fall a woman called me to say there were 15 to 20 young adults living in the hallway of her apartment building. They carried guns. You could tell because there were bullet holes in doors and walls. This is what her seven-year-old daughter saw every morning and every afternoon as her mom walked her to the bus.
  • This week I learned that when the county doesn’t have enough foster parents to take kids in, they sometimes take them to the Racine County Detention Center. I’m trying to understand how often this happens and how many kids this has happened to. But I’ve been told it is allowed to happen under Wisconsin State Statute 48.208.
  • And then there’s the mom of four who called me to say that her landlord had decided to sell the home and she needed to leave. But she couldn’t find a place. So she stayed at the Knights Inn, which cost $3,500 a month and had bed bugs. Ultimately, she ended up staying in her van for weeks.

So this is where things are. These are not simple straightforward stories to tell. There are real consequences when housing instability occurs. We’ll also look at how these issues are being addressed and the challenges around fixing these problems.

I need your help to do that, which means we’re looking to raise $5,000/month in subscriptions to pay for the research, photographer and writing. Here’s more information about the project and how you can help.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.