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Milwaukee County’s housing initiative allocates $10M to prevent evictions and offer mortgage assistance

The Milwaukee County Housing Division received $10 million of Milwaukee County’s allocated CARES Act funding to provide eviction prevention, housing acquisition, and mortgage assistance.

The funds became available on June 11 and will support Milwaukee County residents facing housing instability. The announcement is the first of a series of initiatives that will be rolled out in the coming weeks with a strategic plan to address the two pandemics confronting Milwaukee County: COVID-19 and racial inequity.

“Addressing housing instability is critical in advancing health and racial equity for Milwaukee County residents,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Currently, African-American families represent 80 percent of enrollments in our Eviction Prevention Program. Housing is a key social determinant of health. If individuals are evicted, especially as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our Black communities will be impacted the most.”

Tens of thousands of Milwaukee County residents face housing and financial instability following the expiration of Governor Tony Evers’ eviction moratorium. Beginning today, the Housing Division will work with the courts to offer assistance to tenants and landlords during eviction hearings. The majority of the funding, $7 million, is allocated toward eviction prevention – helping pay for rental arrearages. It’s estimated that the eviction prevention funding will be able to support approximately 2,000 households. The specific funding allocation per individual will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

“This CARES Act funding will help meet the needs of many families in our community who are in desperate need, and enable our community partners to do their important work to address the housing crisis,” said Marcelia Nicholson, Chairwoman, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. “We urgently need our state and federal partners to send more funding to Milwaukee County to meet the growing needs of our residents resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Milwaukee County is working in conjunction with community partners including Community Advocates, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, and Legal Action of Wisconsin among others.

“The financial strains of COVID-19 have led to significantly higher evictions claims this year, especially among our most disenfranchised communities,” said Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary Triggiano. “This funding benefits not only families facing housing instability but also landlords who face financial challenges as well.”

Milwaukee County will use $2 million of the CARES Act funding for temporary property acquisitions and rehabilitation to offer additional housing alternatives to individuals whose options are limited because of COVID-19. Additional housing options are essential since shelters remain at limited, to zero, capacity and it’s not advised for individuals to move in with friends or family because of the coronavirus.

The remaining $1 million will provide mortgage assistance for households that require short-term financial support on payments due to COVID-19. The Housing Initiative is one component of Milwaukee County’s larger vision to become the healthiest county in Wisconsin by achieving racial equity.

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