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Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance ending statewide but some counties and cities will continue it

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 31, 2023

MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin program that started during COVID to offer emergency rental assistance comes to the end at the state level.

However, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties plan to keep theirs going. They want families in danger of eviction to know money is still available.

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A For Rent sign is shown outside of a property in San Francisco, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Maudwella Kirkendoll, chief operating officer at Community Advocates, a non-profit in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties that helps people access rental assistance, says the program has funding and will not end.

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Maudwella Kirkendoll, chief operating officer at Community Advocates, a non-profit in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties.

“We currently have a substantial amount of funding for both counties,” said Kirkendoll.

He says it is because of how the money was distributed. Conner Goggans, the lead community intervention specialist at Milwaukee County Housing Services, says when the state got Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) from the federal government, they gave it out in a few ways, both at the state level and at the county and city level.

"That allows us to continue the program further than the state, therefore we don't have an application deadline at this time,” said Goggans.

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When the first round of ERA funding came out families had to prove a financial hardship because of COVID. However, now they only have to prove the hardship. Milwaukee County received $23.4 million in ERA II funds.

So far, funds from CARES Act, ERA, and ERA II have assisted 12,000 families.

"Later in the pandemic because of the American Rescue Plan Act, there is the ERA II money. You didn't need a COVID relation. You just needed a financial hardship so in that sense there is still a large amount of that available in Milwaukee County,” said Goggans.

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For Rent sign in downtown Milwaukee off Kilburn Avenue.

You also have to be a low-income renter in order to qualify and not have used the program for more than a total of 18 months.

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Conner Goggans, lead community intervention specialist at Milwaukee County Housing Services.

"Aside from having a financial hardship, all the stories are different. We have individuals who are sick, may have been in a car accident and are unable to work, may have lost their jobs, there is a variety of circumstances that lead individuals to come to apply,” said Kirkendoll. "The ultimate goal of this program is to stabilize families and make sure they are not on the street."

Kirkendoll encourages people to apply before they are facing an eviction, but they say they can even help even if you are in the process of being evicted and work with your landlord.

If you are in Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties facing a financial hardship, you can apply for rental assistance through Community Advocates at 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee. There are walk-in appointments available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or you can call 414-270-4646. Milwaukee County residents can also contact the Social Development Commission at 414-906-2700 for help.

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