Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Gets $10 Million For Housing Assistance

County Executive Crowley calls on Congress to pass $1.9 trillion COVID-19 response.

By - Jan 29th, 2021 06:42 pm
Homes in Milwaukee. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Homes in Milwaukee. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County was recently allocated an additional $10 million in federal funding for housing assistance.

These funds come from the stimulus bill passed by Congress earlier this month, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. That legislation included $25 billion for direct housing assistance.

“These funds will really help to protect some of our most vulnerable residents from being evicted, but also assisting with mortgages as well,” Crowley said during a media briefing this week.

Crowley said the new funding was “great news,” but added “at the current rate of spending, we only anticipate having these funds up until the middle of the year.”

In this Crowley echoed housing advocates that say the assistance is helpful, but it isn’t enough.

In the past week there were at least 189 evictions filed in Milwaukee County, according to data from Princeton University’s eviction lab. Evictions continue to have a hugely disproportionate impact on Black renters in the county.

Crowley pointed to the fact that the funding is projected to quickly run out as proof that “there’s really a need for more funding to meet the full needs of everybody here in Milwaukee County.”

In June, Crowley put $10 million of CARES Act funding into eviction prevention. The county partnered with local organizations like Community Advocates and Hope House of Milwaukee to process and administer the rental assistance.

Despite evictions persisting, the county has had some success with housing assistance during the pandemic. In October, the Milwaukee County Housing Division provided a report to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors showing that the rental assistance had prevented 1,700 evictions in the county.

81% of these households were Black, and the “vast majority” were “extremely low income,” said James Mathy, housing division administrator.

The federal eviction moratorium was recently extended to March 31st. But tenants are not automatically protected by the moratorium. They must give their landlord a signed declaration form stating that they cannot pay their rent.

Crowley has also called upon Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan — the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 response legislation from President Joe Biden.

The plan includes $350 billion earmarked for local governments. “It can’t be overstated how great the need is for resources, to not only support Milwaukee County employees, but also to provide critical county services that many of our residents rely on,” Crowley said.

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