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'Pay what you can': Milwaukee's Legal Aid offers advice for those who can't pay their rent

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Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 23:25:31-04

MILWAUKEE — The first of the month means bills are due for many people. In Wisconsin, Governor Evers put a 60-day ban on evictions and foreclosures. That lasts until May 26. However, the executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Colleen Foley said that does not mean you shouldn't pay your rent.

"We are advising people pay what you can if you can," said Foley.

Rent

That means even if it is just a portion of your total rent payment. Foley said if you pay nothing in April, you will still owe the money eventually.

"At the end of the 60 days, unless it gets extended, and so far, there hasn't been any mention of that. There will be, I'm sure an onslaught of evictions," said Foley.

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Legal Aid suggests paying something for rent during this pandemic if you can.

The governor also ordered no utility shut off. If you have trouble paying your utilities, We Energies have some options, including budget billing.

WE Energies truck

"We do have heating assistance that is currently available through the state, so you might qualify for that. It's income-based. We have budget billing where it spreads out your payments," said Brendan Conway, spokesperson for WE Energies.

But community groups like the Legal Aid Society and Lutheran Social Services say if you can't pay something, don't ignore the bill. Instead, talk to the people collecting, many are offering options, including landlords.

Money in wallet

"I would try to negotiate with your landlord and let them know your situation," said Hector Colon of Lutheran Social Services.

According to the Legal Aid Society, it is illegal to evict someone right now until May 26. So if a landlord is threatening you with eviction, get in contact with Legal Aid. If it is happening immediately, call the police.

If you need help, here are some resources in the community to contact.

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