Evictions backlog, Milwaukee families waiting months for help

The city of Milwaukee continues to sort through a backlog of eviction cases – while more cases are filed nearly every day.

Thus far, Community Advocates has helped distribute $49.8 million in rental assistance to more than 10,000 households. There are still families waiting months for help.

At the start of 2022, Keisha Eubanks received a letter from her landlord saying she owed more than $1,000 in rent. 

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"I don’t want an eviction on my name," Eubanks said.

Eubanks said she fell behind when she had to stop working and help her son with virtual schooling. On Jan. 12, she applied for rental assistance through Community Advocates.

Community Advocates

Almost two months later, she said her only update is that she is still "waiting to be assigned a case manager."

"I’m feeling very stuck and very confused. I don’t know what else to do at this point," Eubanks said.

Wednesday, the Milwaukee Common Council's Community and Economic Development Committee got an update about the city's anti-eviction strategies. 

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Deborah Hefner, housing strategy director with Community Advocates, acknowledged there are a lot of applicants in their queue. What "a lot" means is unclear.

"We’ve been working along the way to continuously improve our own processes from just our staffing levels to the systems that we use," Hefner said.

Eubanks' landlord, Berrada Properties, has not yet filed for eviction in her case. However, the property management company has filed 1,000 evictions since the start of 2022 – almost one-thrid of all Milwaukee filings for the year to date. More than 800 of them were filed in two weeks.

Berrada Properties

Eubanks hopes she gets an answer before she gets a court date.

"All I can do is email and leave messages and hope for a return call, which clearly you see I’m not getting at," said Eubanks.

In addition to Community Advocates, resources are available through Milwaukee's Rental Housing Resource Center.

FOX6 News called Community Advocates on Wednesday immediately after the Common Council's committee meeting, trying a number of different extensions. Nobody answered, and a message was not immediately answered.

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