Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

SDC Deluged With Rental Assistance Requests

24,000 have filed applications, Social Development Commission has processed just 154.

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The Social Development Commission is combing through a list of 24,000 names of people seeking emergency rental aid. Photo by Adam Carr/NNS.

The Social Development Commission is combing through a list of 24,000 names of people seeking emergency rental aid. Photo by Adam Carr/NNS.

A backlog of at least 24,000 applicants for emergency rental assistance has left the Social Development Commission, or SDC, scrambling to help residents in dire straits.

The SDC received $6.7 million to assist residents of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington counties through the Wisconsin Rent Assistance Program, or WRAP. The funds were provided as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act package.

So far, the SDC has approved 154 people for aid and given out $260,096 through the WRAP program, officials say.

Last week we wrote about what you need to know about the WRAP program. This week, we circled back with Kim Dawson-Brooks, the agency’s marketing and communications specialist, and Elmer Moore, SDC board chairman, to get the latest information.

How many people were served in June?

Dawson-Brooks: Since June 8, SDC has approved 154 people for aid and given out $260,096 through the WRAP program. SDC has denied 113 people aid, and staff are currently processing 195 applications.

Are all 24,000 names on the list Milwaukee residents? What is the breakdown of that number? 

Dawson-Brooks: Most of the people inquiring about the WRAP program live in Milwaukee County. About 97% are from Milwaukee County and the rest live in Ozaukee or Washington counties.

Why is this taking so long?

Moore: There was an overwhelming interest in the program. We are doing our best to keep up with the high demand. We are not the only agency providing rent assistance, so a part of the process is ensuring that we are not giving aid to someone who has received it elsewhere.

About how long will people have to wait to hear from you once they complete the application process?

Dawson-Brooks: Once all information is in and someone is approved, they should receive aid in 10 days or less.

How many people work for the WRAP program?

Dawson-Brooks: There are currently seven employees working the WRAP program. SDC is in the process of hiring eight more. The SDC lost five employees who were from temp agencies over the last week.

How many people does the SDC contact in a week?

Dawson-Brooks and Moore: Each WRAP employee contacts 25 new applicants a day and follows up with 15 applicants in the process a day.  Each of the seven staff members talks to around 200 people a week. SDC reaches out to a little over 1,000 people a week for the WRAP program.


Where you can find help

Worried about being able to pay rent? Here are some resources to help.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

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