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June 9, 2023

ICYMI: Milwaukee County Dispersed $80 Million in Emergency Rent Assistance to over 22,600 Unique Households
Housing Services Administrator Jim Mathy testified to Committee on Health Equity, Human Needs and Strategic Planning earlier this week

MILWAUKEE, WI – This week, Housing Services Administrator Jim Mathy testified to the County Board Health Equity, Human Needs and Strategic Planning Committee on the overwhelming success of Milwaukee County’s rental and mortgage assistance program funded by federal COVID-19 relief funds. Since 2020, Milwaukee County has successfully dispersed over $80 million to 22,600 unique households, undoubtedly helping keep residents in their homes during the height of the pandemic and avoiding a massive humanitarian crisis locally. 

“As a County Executive who was sworn-in in the middle of a pandemic, housing has been a top priority for my administration since day one. I know what it is like to grow up in Milwaukee County experiencing housing insecurity, getting evicted, and not knowing where you will lay your head for the next month. That’s why we’ve worked to maximize the federal dollars available over the last three years to make a lasting impact when it comes to housing security in our area,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.  “What this shows is that when Milwaukee County has the resources to invest upstream, we prevent individuals from facing crisis and encourage healthier, more successful outcomes for residents. Even with our financial constraints, we are making the most out of the resources and partnerships available to make a real impact in the community and continue our journey towards achieving race and health equity.” 

During public testimony to the County Board Health Equity, Human Needs and Strategic Planning Committee, Housing Services Administrator Jim Mathy confirmed the success of the upstream approach. “We’ve done a lot of crisis housing and different things like homeless outreach for folks in active crisis. This was finally an opportunity to receive funding to do something upstream and proactive to keep people in housing before they lost it.”

Housing Services’ news comes on the heels of Milwaukee County breaking-ground, alongside Habitat Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee, on single family home developments in the King Park Neighborhood. The homes are being made possible with a Neighborhood Investment Fund competitive grant awarded to Milwaukee County’s Housing Services from the State of Wisconsin.  The county’s total investment in the housing project is $6 million with the ultimate goal of building 120 new homes in the neighborhood for first time homeowners with a focus on Black and Latino families to narrow Milwaukee County’s racial disparities in homeownership.

“Milwaukee County has made a commitment to improving housing security and preventing housing crisis in our neighborhoods. We’ve demonstrated success in this area, and I look forward to continuing that success in the King Park neighborhood with another large investment upstream aimed at turning residents into homeowners.” said Department of Health and Human Services Director Shakita LaGrant McClain. 

Additional Background on Milwaukee County Housing Efforts

Invested millions of American Rescue Plan Act Funds on addressing local housing needs:

  • Right to Counsel: $2.7 million
    • Helped ensure legal representation to households facing eviction
    • Eviction judgements were prevented in 76% of cases
    • Attorneys prevented involuntary moves in 70% of cases
  • Flexible Rental Assistance Pool: $1.6 million
    • Assisted households with flexible rental assistance who may not have traditional access to subsidies
    • Used in conjunction with Right to Counsel
  • Suburban Affordable Housing Development: $15 million
    • Funds multi-family affordable housing development in Milwaukee County suburban municipalities 
    • Four projects recommended for funding to date in Wauwatosa, South Milwaukee, and Brown Deer
  • Rehabilitation of Milwaukee County Foreclosures: $3 million
    • Funds to rehab tax foreclosures in suburban municipalities
    • Homes will be sold at an affordable price to first time homebuyers
    • 19 homes currently in inventory
  • Construction of new single-family homes near Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center: $6 million
    • Construction of 120 new single family homes for first time homebuyers
    • Homes constructed by Habitat for Humanity and the Emem Group.
  • Development of Crisis Housing: $2 million
    • Development of new crisis beds and permanent supportive housing
    • Collaboration between Housing Services and Behavioral Health Services
  • Currently serving approximately 1,700 households participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program
  • Housing Services administers several programs that assist individuals who are homeless using the Housing First philosophy
  • Homeless outreach services and housing triage are provided while on the street. Along with rapport building, and basic supplies, housing focused assessments are part of the initial conversation. 

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(414) 278-4211 | fax: (414) 223-1375
Milwaukee County Courthouse, Room 306
901 N. 9th Street | Milwaukee, WI 53233

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