Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Wisconsin in early March, the City of Milwaukee has been actively working to keep Milwaukee families housed.

On July 30 the City of Milwaukee announced an allocation of an additional $15 million in CARES Act funding for rent support and assistance to help over 3,000 families remain in stable housing.

“With the end of federal assistance, I’m very concerned that people will be losing their homes,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “I have been very pleased to see that as families seek help, many landlords have been holding back on evictions, knowing that rent support is on its way. We’re hard at work with our local partners to make sure that Milwaukee residents do not have these major disruptions in their lives.”

Families will be allowed up to $3,000 in support for rent payments or security deposits. Funding will follow the same income criteria as the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program. Candidates must be an adult resident with a household income at or below 80% of County Median Income in the month prior to the date of application. Persons at or below 60% County Median Income receive priority. Only one recipient is allowed per qualified household. Applicants must provide documentation showing a loss of employment or a reduction in income due to COVID-19.

Mayor Barrett has also allocated $1.6 million in federal HOME funds to address higher-risk tenants and landlords, including those already in an eviction action in court. The HOME funds are essential to support the work of the Rental Housing Resource Center partners — Community Advocates, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and Mediate Milwaukee — to prevent evictions and stabilize housing for city of Milwaukee residents.

“The need for rental assistance to ensure that Milwaukeeans are able to stay housed is unprecedented,” said Andi Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of Community Advocates. “We truly appreciate the collective efforts of state, county and city government to partner with the Rental Housing Resource Center to provide this lifeline of support.”

Milwaukee residents seeking assistance can request an application through Community Advocates via email at or phone at (414) 270-4646. Applications for rent assistance through the Social Development Commission are still available online.

This summer we’ve seen the tremendous need for assistance,” said George Hinton, Chief Executive Officer of the Social Development Commission. “This additional funding will ensure that more families get the assistance they desperately need. This also shows how government and other organizations can work together to support a community in crisis.”

© Photo

Lee Matz

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following year, we have published hundreds of articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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