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Evers approves $200M+ to more than 48,000 families for rent help

Gov. Tony Evers today announced that more than 48,000 households have received assistance from the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) program, surpassing $200 million in rent and utility payments statewide.

The federally funded WERA program provides up to 18 months of financial assistance for current and overdue payments of rent and utilities, including water, electricity, gas, and internet, and has been an instrumental tool in helping families maintain housing despite financial hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“So many have faced rising costs over these past few years, and I’m proud of our work to support more than 48,000 households across our state to help families make ends meet, stay safe in their homes, and catch up on bills to keep the lights and heat on,” said Evers. “This program has been a lifeline for Wisconsin families when they’ve needed it most, and I look forward to continuing this important work to ensure Wisconsin families can keep up with rent and utility bills, especially as we head into the winter months.”

Gov. Evers first announced the WERA program in February 2021. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and is funded by the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The counties of Brown, Dane, Milwaukee, and Waukesha, as well as the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, operate their own emergency rental assistance programs.

“Anytime we can help a family stay safe in their homes, catch up on utility bills, or get some peace of mind, it’s a worthy accomplishment. Helping more than 48,000 households do the same is a milestone worth celebrating,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “We are grateful for Gov. Evers’ commitment to help hardworking families when they needed it most and for our statewide network of partners in administering this program to help Wisconsin renters avoid eviction and retain safe, stable housing.”

The WERA program is open to Wisconsin residents who demonstrate a risk of experiencing housing instability, who have seen their income impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and who earn a household income at or below 80 percent of the county median income.

Rental and utility assistance payments are made directly to the landlord or utility provider on behalf of the tenant. More information is available at doa.wi.gov/Pages/WERA.aspx.