MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County housing leaders say emergency rental assistance staved off nearly 3,800 evictions in the latest funding round. Officials say that funding will continue, but so will the extraordinary need for it.
Nearly $60 million has been allocated to the state as part of the first round of emergency rental assistance. $10.6 million of that has been earmarked for Milwaukee County – and an additional $12.6 million from the state.
"The good news is, I think the program is doing an extraordinary job with the management of these funds," said James Mathy, MCHD Administrator.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the head of the county's housing division provided updates on the status of emergency rental funding and the program administering it.
County officials say they have received nearly 10,000 applications just for the state dollars – and only $2.6 million remains.
But officials say additional state funding is on the way to keep the program operational through September of next year – and that does not include additional expected federal dollars.
Administrator Mathy said of those receiving help, 75% of households are African American -- 78% with women, nearly half between 21 and 35, and 76% in the extremely low-income category.
"The need has just been tremendous and we expect it to continue," Mathy said.
Community Advocates, which helps administer the funding, tripling its staff since last summer.
"Trying to make sure that outreach is there, but also that we are able to help," said Deb Heffner.
In navigating the process of applying for help, to keep people out of court now that the eviction moratorium was lifted by the Supreme Court.
"Especially for someone in crisis, it all seems so overwhelming and the fear of losing their home is quite possibly the scariest thing someone can go through," Heffner said.
Heffner said the most important thing is to keep letting people know that if they need help, the help and funding is there.