As the Dec. 31 deadline nears for the end of the federal eviction moratorium, community leaders are working to keep residents in their homes.
The moratorium was enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and put in place on Sept. 4. The emergency order was intended to halt the spread of COVID–19 and seasonal influenza and to reduce the increased risk of homeless shelters becoming overcrowded in fall and winter.
With funding for the moratorium and other assistance programs expected to end this month, housing advocates are scrambling for solutions.
This includes getting the Rental Housing Resource Center up and running. The center will provide tenants with connections for rental assistance, legal services and mediation services all in one place.
Kristi Luzar, executive director of the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin. or UEDA, said the project began over a year ago, but the pandemic accelerated the need for it.
The goal of the Rental Housing Resource Center is to streamline housing services so people quickly receive the help they need.
The center “is meant to bring together existing resources,” Luzar said. “The resources we have in Milwaukee have never been enough to meet the need.”
The center has launched a website, RentHelpMKE.org, and is planning to open a physical resource center in January at 728 N. James Lovell St.
But even with the center’s opening, advocates say more needs to be done.
In a meeting regarding housing, LaToya Jones, the business service manager of the Social Development Commission, said: “It scares me sometimes. People need answers, and we don’t have them right now.”
“We are concerned,” added Colleen Foley, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. “There is no evidence of a moratorium extension, but we are hoping for one.”
Foley said several organizations are coming together to urge elected officials to provide an extension and continued funding for rental assistance.
Amy Koltz, executive director of Mediate Wisconsin, which helps mediate landlord-tenant disputes, urges residents to reach out to their local legislators.
Another way you can help, Luzar said, is to donate to any of the organizations involved in the Rental Housing Resource Center and to follow the organization’s social media pages.
The center’s partner organizations include:
- Community Advocates
- Hope House
- Mediate Wisconsin
- Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
- Legal Action Wisconsin
- Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin
- City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services
- Milwaukee County Housing Division
- Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA)
Resources to consult if you’re worried about eviction
- Community Advocates rent helpline: 414-270-4646
- Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee: 414-727-5300
- Mediate Milwaukee: 414-939-8800
- Legal Action of Wisconsin: 855-947-2529
- Social Development Commission: 414-906-2700
Check out our Instagram Story on “Milwaukee resources to help you avoid evictions.”