Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will receive more than $28 million to provide new emergency rental assistance for struggling tenants.
In late February, Gov. Tony Evers announced more than $322 million in funding to help support residents who have experienced a loss of income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A part of this funding from the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program includes new emergency rental assistance for Wisconsin.
“While we continue working to get vaccines distributed and shots in arms as soon as we have supply, these funds will be critically important providing families the stability and support they need to get through this pandemic,” Evers said in a statement.
Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said the city would use the funds to ensure the neediest residents could benefit. The money will supplement the programming the city already has in place that disperses assistance to renters, he said.
Community Advocates, which has distributed over $11 million in rent assistance since last March, now has an additional $10.6 million to disburse through Milwaukee County. The rental assistance provider responsible for the other $17.6 million allocated to the City of Milwaukee has yet to be determined.
Deb Heffner, housing strategy director of Community Advocates, said the new funding comes with a few changes.
“The biggest change is that the last round of funding we received had a cap,” or maximum dollar amount, Heffner said. “This funding doesn’t. Eligible tenants can receive around 15 months of assistance with current and/or overdue bills.”
She said the eligibility for rent assistance has not changed much, though the new funding prioritizes tenants who make 50 percent or below of the county median income.
Housing leaders are now also able to serve those who receive federal Section 8 housing assistance.
Both landlords and tenants can continue to apply at Community Advocates’ website. Landlords can now reach out on behalf of tenants, though tenants must complete the application on their own. Once applications are approved, funding is paid directly to the landlord.
According to Heffner, tenants can check the status of an application through the website. A call center is open Monday through Friday. The number is 414-270-4646.
For more information on the emergency funding, click here.