Wisconsin to spend $25 million to help renters

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The state of Wisconsin plans to spend $25 million helping renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic stay in their homes.

“Wisconsinites have enough to worry about as we continue to battle the deadly COVID-19 virus. They should not also have to worry about losing the roofs over their head,” Gov. Evers said.

The new initiative will is designed to offer assistance paying rent, security deposits, and wrap around services for those who are eligible. The funds come as part of the federal government's $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package.

“The Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program will hopefully provide peace of mind to a lot of people, as well as a reminder to them that we are all in this together. They have not been forgotten,” Evers continued.

To quality for the aide, the applicant will need to have a household income at or below 80 percent of the county's median income. If approved, they will receive up to $3,000 to pay their rent or security deposit. All money from the program will be paid straight to the landlord.

While the DOA will manage the program, it plans to partner with local Wisconsin Community Action Program Association agencies to collect applications and distribute the funds.

“Collaborations with ‘boots-on-the-ground’ partner organizations will be critical to ensuring eligible Wisconsin residents are aware of this new program and are able to receive rental assistance relief quickly,” DOA Secretary Joel Brennan said.

Earlier this week, Dane County announced it plans to spend $10 million of CARES money to help those in the county avoid eviction.

“This $10 million eviction prevention fund and housing stability effort will help more individuals and families be able to stay in the place they call home or help them secure housing instead of returning to a local shelter,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.

According to its numbers, more than 36,000 people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began, leaving them vulnerable unable to pay their bills because of job loss or a reduction in pay.