MILWAUKEE - Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 8,500 families have been saved from eviction thanks to a moratorium, but with the ban lifted, a new group seeks to help families fight threats of evictions in court, providing free legal representation for families in need.
"When you can’t count on having a roof over your head at night, it brings around more stress, more anxiety and contributes mightily to the poor health disparities that we see throughout Milwaukee County," said David Crowley, Milwaukee County executive.
During the pandemic, a moratorium on evictions meant struggling families would not have to worry about living on the street.
"So I’m proud to say that through federal funds dispersed since the start of this pandemic, we have saved over 8,500 families from being evicted," said Crowley.
With that ban now lifted, many families face the possibility of eviction. That's where a new initiative comes in.
"Legal Aid and our proud partners here today are so excited to officially launch ‘Eviction Free MKE,' and our goal is simple, really, and that is to even the playfield and change the landscape of evictions here," said Colleen Foley, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.
Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
Thanks to a series of area partnerships, federal assistance and local coordination, "Eviction Free MKE" will provide qualified families with free extended legal counsel.
"As a lawyer myself, I know that the difference between having a lawyer with you in eviction court or not having a lawyer with you is an absolute game-changer," said Amy Lindner, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. "Our goal is to make sure any family facing that has the representation they need when navigating this difficult, and potentially life-altering, event."
This three-year pilot program will make a difference for families, organizers say, keeping them at home.