COVID-19 Resources - Getting Help in Wisconsin

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Yes. The organizations below can assist individuals and connect them to local services.

(1) 211 Wisconsin

211 is a quick and easy way to find information and get referrals for thousands of programs and services across Wisconsin.

Start by telling them your most pressing needs. They are trained to ask the right questions to get to the underlying causes of your needs.

Anyone can call 211 at any time.

211 information and referral specialists are trained to assist callers seeking information or dealing with all types of challenges related to:

  • Housing
  • Utility Shutoffs
  • Family Crisis
  • Legal Issues
  • Alcohol Recovery
  • Drug Recovery
  • Employment
  • Food Services

211 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in over 180 languages. You can also text your ZIP code to 898211, or chat with 211 through the website.

It is completely free for you to call, text, chat, or search 211. If you are calling from a cell phone, your normal charges such as texting rates or minutes from your cell provider may apply.

(2) WISCAP

WISCAP is the association of Community Action Agencies and two Special Purpose Agencies. Community Action Agencies throughout the state may be able to offer immediate assistance. The organization serves as the statewide voice for Community Action Agencies and people struggling with poverty.

In Wisconsin, the 16 Community Action Agencies exist to help people get out of and stay out of poverty. These agencies provide services and coordinate community resources to their local population.

Community Action Agencies provide direct services to low-income individuals, including:

  • Food Security
  • Energy/Utilities
  • Housing
  • Family Support
  • Health

(3) Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)

Your local aging and disability resource center (ADRC) is the first place to go to get accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability.

ADRCs are friendly, welcoming places where you can go for information about aging or living with a disability, whether you are looking for yourself, or you are a concerned family member or friend, or a professional working with issues related to aging or disabilities.

Services Provided by the ADRC:

  • In-home personal care and nursing
  • Housing options
  • Housekeeping and chore services
  • Home modifications
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Transportation
  • Health, nutrition, and home-delivered meal programs
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
  • Caregiver supports and respite

Covering Wisconsin can assist you:

  1. Find health insurance,
  2. Help you enroll in health insurance, and
  3. Educate you on how to use your health insurance.

Visit Covering Wisconsin's website to connect with a navigator who will help you find the health insurance coverage you need.


WisCovered.com

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurane (OCI) has created a new website, WisCovered.com, that connects Wisconsinites with free, expert help to get health coverage and includes a FAQ section, including a link to a more comprehensive FAQ.

There are resources available for those who are dealing with housing/rent/mortgage issues.

  1. Federal Eviction Moratorium

    Recent Federal Orders from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) impact evictions from residential properties in Wisconsin and across the nation. The CDC order to ‘Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19’ will become effective on September 4, 2020 and run through December 31, 2020

  2. Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

    WHEDA works to improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents by providing affordable housing and business financing products.

    WHEDA can assist:

    • Single-Family Mortgage Customers
    • Renters
    • Small Business Owners
    • Mortgage Lenders
    • Commercial Developers
    • Property Managers and Owners
  3. Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)

    Advice from DFI on trouble paying mortgage:

    If you have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are having trouble or may soon be having trouble making your mortgage loan payment, it is important to contact your mortgage loan servicer directly and as soon as possible regarding any mortgage assistance programs they may offer.

    The type of mortgage assistance programs offered by your servicer will vary by loan type and may include:

    • Suspension of any foreclosure action or eviction
    • Extension of deadlines of the first legal action and reasonable diligence timelines
    • Payment forbearance plan
    • Waiving of late fees
    • Suspending the reporting of delinquency related to forbearance, repayment, or trial plans to credit bureaus.
  4. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection - Landlord/Tenant Issues

    Please note that from March 27, 2020 to May 26, 2020 (60 days), Gov. Tony Evers' Emergency Order #15 suspends residential and commercial evictions statewide for the failure to pay rent, unless it is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person.

    During this time period, unless the eviction is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person, landlords are prohibited from:

    • Serving notice terminating a rental agreement, including a lease
    • Commencing a civil action of eviction
    • Delivering eviction notices to the sheriff
  5. Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP)

    • The effort is funded by $25 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars.
    • In general, eligible applicants must be an adult Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or prior to the application date. Once approved, eligible individuals may receive assistance of up $3,000 in a combination of rental payments and/or security deposits. These payments will be paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.
    • More details about The Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program, including complete eligibility criteria, application documentation requirements, and the distribution process for the rental assistance, will be shared in the upcoming days.

    Program Description:

    • The Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources within the Department of Administration will oversee the distribution of up to $25 million of coronavirus relief funds for financial assistance to individual households to help pay for costs associated with rent payments called the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program
    • The division will contract with WISCAP (Wisconsin Community Action Program Association), which is an association of 16 community action (or CAP) agencies to administer the program.
    • The network is uniquely situated to deliver a statewide emergency rent assistance program through trusted local agencies. WISCAP has a track record of delivering programs in this way, such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Job and Business Development Program (JBD).
    • Member agencies are well-known resources to residents and have a full range of programs and services tailored to the needs of the community. Delivery of rental assistance funds through WISCAP will ensure that the program is run by agencies experienced in providing eviction prevention and emergency assistance in a community-driven way.
    • DEHCR will distribute the funds using the current Community Service Block Grant funding formula which is based on percentage of low-income population in the state.
    • WISCAP member agencies will accept applications based on criteria established by the division and award grants of up to $3,000 in a combination of rental payments and/or security deposits.
    • In general, an eligible applicant must be an adult Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or prior to the application date.
    • The applicant must provide documentation showing they have had a significant loss of income due to COVID and are unable to pay their rent.
    • Rent costs will be paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.
    • Financial assistance will be awarded on a first come first serve basis, however, in the case that demand exceeds funding, a waiting list will be established.
    • WISCAP and the individual CAP agencies will be responsible for meeting reporting requirements on how the funds were used and the number of households served.
    • WRAP Progam Infographic
    • More details about the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program, including complete eligibility criteria, application documentation requirements, and the distribution process for the rental assistance, will be shared in the upcoming days.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is an independent regulatory agency dedicated to serving the public interest.

PSC’s information on utility payments and access to free broadband service can be found on PSC's website.

The PSC has established their Internet & Phone helpline for Wisconsin consumers. Please call to speak with dedicated PSC staff or leave a voicemail.

PSC Internet and Phone Helpline: (608) 267-3595

Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are offering free or low-cost internet access options in response to the COVID-19 health emergency. These services are offered in the areas each ISP serves, or as otherwise described.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) has multiple resources to assist families.

Please view the Family Support Services publication on DCF's website to find family support services on:

  • Food Share
  • Health Care
  • Child Support
  • Pregnant Women
  • Refugee Cash Assistance
  • Refugee Medical Assistance
  • Wisconsin Works Services (W-2)
  • Minor Parents
  • Custodial Parents of an Infant
  • Work Support for Childcare
  • Work Support for Transportation
  • Education & Training
  • Emergency Assistance: homeless or about to become homeless or you are about to lose your home because you have had a fire, flood, natural disaster, or energy crisis.