Casa Maria New Housing Co-op

By Caitlin and Kevin O’Brien

Something exciting is quietly happening on the 1100 block of North 21st Street. Milwaukee Quakers may already be familiar with the neighborhood: a wonderful group has been bringing monthly chili dinners to the Casa Maria Catholic Worker community for several years. A thriving hub of goods distribution, emergency housing, and social justice activism, we are pleased to announce the latest addition to the block: the 21st Street Co-op.

Several neighbors, two Catholic Workers, and a local Milwaukee mutual aid collective teamed up to create the 21st Street Co-op in order to purchase a large house directly across from Casa Maria. Our goal is to provide affordable and stable housing to collectives or individuals who have their own missions and are dedicated to the work of building a strong neighborhood. As members of 21st Street Co-op, owner-occupants directly participate in democratic decisions regarding their home(s).

The first owner-occupants are members of the collective Brave Green Wave Trybe (BGWT). The collective’s mission is to house Black QTNB (queer, trans, nonbinary) folx at risk for homelessness, provide housing advocacy, and create programming specifically geared towards the needs of Black QTNB individuals in Milwaukee.

Ultimately, the 21st Street Co-op hopes to own several more houses on this same street; for each house to become a home for budding cooperatives, nonprofits, or just people interested in contributing to the wider community. For now, we are focusing all our energy on rehabbing the new space to make it home-worthy for Brave Green Wave Trybe’s official move-in date of November 1st, 2021.

To get this house ready, we would welcome any help you would be willing to offer! A few ideas:

  • Come scrub walls, ceilings, n floors
  • Painters are needed for priming
  • Tell us recommendations for Milwaukee handy-humans (plumbers, !!roofers!!, electricians)
  • Donate a gas stove
  • Send donation checks to “21st Street Co-op” at 1151 N. 21st Street, Milwaukee WI 53233

If you would like more information, please email us at . For all you Facebook friends-to-be, feel free to join our group “21st Street Community Cooperative” for discussion, needs lists, photo updates, and events.