Graham Kilmer

Crowley Leads Coalition For COVID-19 Relief

With no relief in sight, economic disaster could await Milwaukee and the rest of the country.

By - Dec 11th, 2020 03:30 pm
David Crowley. File photo by Graham Kilmer.

David Crowley. File photo by Graham Kilmer.

With federal inaction threatening to derail pandemic mitigation efforts, County Executive David Crowley assembled a coalition of non-profit and businesses leaders to call on Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to support a funding deal.

Both CARES Act funds and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium expire on December 31st.

Officials consider a funding lapse a worst-case scenario. On January 1st local governments will still be faced with responding to the public health crisis and its corresponding economic impact. The city, county and state have leveraged the federal funds to pay for testing, rent assistance and a host of other programs to mitigate the disease.

“The public health and economic impacts of this pandemic, they are continuing to grow every day. And so without more federal financial support, the immediate negative consequences, they will be significant,” said Crowley

The level of housing insecurity during this pandemic has reached levels unparalleled in recent history. Andi Elliott, CEO of Community Advocates, the agency working with Milwaukee County to administer rental assistance recently provided the media with some raw numbers that show the scale of the crisis that awaits the community if there is no relief coming.

During the Great Recession, Community Advocates administered approximately $400,000 in rental assistance over three years. The agency is currently distributing approximately $400,000 a week in rental assistance.

In the past week, the agency has distributed more than $600,000 in rental assistance payments. Since June it has helped 3,000 families secure rental assistance, and expects 2,000 more families to get assistance before the end of the year. The organization continues to get applications said Elliot.

In a letter signed December 9th, Crowley was joined by more than 30 partners including healthcare systems, local businesses, non-profit organizations and industry associations in calling on the 10 members of the state’s congressional delegation to work on a bi-partisan relief bill.

The letter urges the delegation to consider that additional resources are needed to continue fighting the pandemic and its consequences for public health and the economy.

“This unprecedented situation requires action at scale with the problem,” the letter states. “Addressing the issue now with bold solutions will prevent larger systemic economic damage.”

The signatories, appearing to pre-empt concerns about spending and accountability for tax dollars, said: “To enhance the fiscal responsibility of this legislation, reasonable guardrails could require COVID-19 relief dollars be tied to the public health, economic, and community impacts of COVID-19, ensuring resources are utilized in the most effective and efficient manner possible.”

The letter points to the wide range of signatories from varied backgrounds and industries as proof that there is widespread concern about the shockwaves that would reverberate through the economy if a relief bill is not passed.

Given the cost of the public health response and the precarity experienced by businesses and the widespread housing insecurity, if there is no relief, further calamity will proceed on top of the ongoing pandemic.

Read the letter here.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us