COVID-19 Resources - Getting Help in Wisconsin

This page was last updated on 2/26/2021.

Expand All | Collapse All

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

  1. Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) Program

    Overview

    • The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) is partnering with members of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association and Energy Services, Inc. to assist eligible renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need help with their rent, utilities, or other housing stability.
    • Eligible applicants include Wisconsin residents who demonstrate a risk of experiencing housing instability, have seen their income reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and/or earn a household income at or below 80 percent of the county median income. Once approved, eligible individuals may receive up to 12 months of assistance. Rental and utility assistance payments are made directly to the landlord or utility provider on behalf of the tenant.
    • More details about the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance program, including eligibility criteria, application requirements, and frequently asked questions, can be found on DOA's WERA webpage.

    Program Details

    • The counties of Brown, Dane, Milwaukee, and Waukesha, as well as the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, are operating their own emergency rental assistance programs and are not participating in the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance program. Interested residents in these areas should apply directly to their local government’s rental assistance provider. More information on providers in those areas can be found on DOA's WERA webpage.
    • Your household may qualify if at least one or more individuals in your home meet the following:
      1. Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, experienced major costs, or experienced financial struggles due to COVID-19;
      2. Demonstrates a risk of being evicted or losing your home; and
      3. Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the county median
    • The program is funded by the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
    • WERA Program Infographic
  2. Federal Eviction Moratorium

    A federal eviction moratorium is currently in effect through March 31, 2021.

    The first federal eviction moratorium due to COVID-19 began on March 27, 2020, under the federal CARES Act and ended on July 24, 2020. Covered tenants could not be forced to vacate until 30 days after the expiration of the moratorium (August 23, 2020). On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed a nationwide temporary federal moratorium on residential evictions due to nonpayment of rent. The new eviction moratorium issued by CDC took effect September 4, 2020, and was initially slated to extend through December 31, 2020, but was extended legislatively through January 31, 2021. On January 20, 2021, CDC announced its intent to extend the existing eviction moratorium order through March 31, 2021.

    More information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) - Landlord/Tenant Guide

    DATCP offers the following resources related to COVID-19 and landlord/tenant issues:

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.

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.