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Wisconsin’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program Ends | Local news

Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance ends January 31st

​COPYRIGHT 2023 BY KANAL 3000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITED OR DISTRIBUTED.



MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin’s cash pool of approx. $550 million in emergency rental assistance is nearly exhausted, and the state-run portion is set to end next week.

Since the program launched in early 2021, the state alone has paid out over $240 million to help nearly 40,000 families in 68 Wisconsin counties cover rent, utilities, water and Internet.

Administrative Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld said that while there is still more need for housing stability, and funds are available, she considers the program a success.

“We’ve heard from recipients of these funds how meaningful it was to know they had a roof over their heads and could get some extra peace of mind,” Blumenfeld said. “It was meant to be temporary relief during the pandemic and we are really proud of the number of people we were able to serve during this time.”

Amber Duddy, the executive director of the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, said part of the reason more applications for aid are coming in even as the pandemic eases is inflation. She said about 13% of Wisconsin households spend half of their entire income on rent, and without the rental assistance, the transition will be difficult.

“This program really helped a lot of the people who have very low incomes and very high rents stay in their homes,” Duddy said. “So unfortunately it changed and that ending is coming really soon for people.”

For their part, state leaders said they have no intention of leaving Wisconsinites high and dry. They’re transitioning to what they call “housing stability services” and partnering with local agencies to provide things like crisis management to people who are close to being evicted.

Those services are not yet available in Dane County because its emergency rental assistance program still has a little more time and money left, but Duddy said that will run out as well.

Larger municipalities with more than 200,000 residents such as Dane, Brown, Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties have programs that run independently of the state and manage about $200 million of the state’s total ERA pool.

“I don’t think any of the programs that are funded by the national treasury throughout the country will last through this year,” she said

In Dane County, through the Tenant Resource Center, there are currently some options available for help with things like finding affordable housing and navigating relationships with landlords by negotiating a payment plan or reducing rent.

Duddy expects housing stability services in Dane County to take shape in the next few months. In Madison alone, CAC has distributed nearly $31 million in federally funded emergency rental funds. In total, an estimated $485 in ERA funds were disbursed statewide.

Applications for the state-run program are accepted until 23.59 Tuesday 31 January.

​COPYRIGHT 2023 BY KANAL 3000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITED OR DISTRIBUTED.

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