Milwaukee leaders concerned end to evictions ban, delayed rent relief could leave many homeless

MILWAUKEE -- The statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures ended earlier this week, allowing landlords to begin filing evictions on Wednesday, May 27. As of Thursday afternoon, 144 eviction cases were filed in Wisconsin -- 33 in Milwaukee County.

Tom Barrett

The filings leave county and city leaders concerned that many could be homeless if they don't find a way to help those affected now.

"The goal is to provide several months of support for families with a temporary reduction in income, and to do that through their landlords," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

David Crowley

Barrett on Thursday provided updates on COVID-19 testing and the growing need to help those facing eviction.

"Making sure that those who have been hit hardest are getting the necessary resources, to make sure that we not only get over the pandemic but get on a good road to recovery," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

$4.2 million from the City of Milwaukee and $25 million from the state is being allocated to help with renters, but some of that money is not expected to become available for another few weeks, leaving a gap for landlords to give tenants the boot.

"I will be spending time in the coming weeks with bankers and housing counselors to work on getting ahead of these issues," Barrett said.

Alderman Khalif Rainey of Milwaukee's 7th District sent a later to Gov. Tony Evers requesting a "modest extension" on the moratorium, saying:

"The economic dislocation that these many thousands of evictions could cause will be great and will fall hardest on those already less fortunate. It will diminish whatever prospect existed for the eventual rebound of these communities already so damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic."

FOX6 News received a response from Gov. Evers' office to that letter on Thursday. It said: "Unfortunately, the governor cannot texted or reissue the eviction and moratorium order since it requires a public health emergency." The governor's office also said that Gov. Evers will work to get the $25 million in state funding to the pockets of renters as soon as possible.