Milwaukee County assistance programs.
Grants, charities, and non-profits can provide financial help to low income families in Milwaukee County. There are funds available to help with energy or heating bills, rent, medical needs, and even mortgages. Find how to apply for financial aid or other social services, even include credit counseling or job programs.
Find resources and programs to help with bills and expenses
Over 100,000 people are helped annually by the Social Development Commission, which is the Community Action Agency (CAA) for Milwaukee County. The SDC offers families and individuals 18 different programs that are designed to improve the overall quality of life for low and moderate income people, and also assist people with obtaining grants and other help with bills. Through these various programs, the SDC provides resources and services to approximately 100,000 people each and every year. While the services are targeted towards to low-income individuals and families in Milwaukee County, others can also benefit from them. Some of the programs are referenced below, and the contact information is at bottom.
Energy Bill Assistance
This program offered by SDC was created with the goal of providing services and benefits to assist low and moderate income households who are at or below 60% of the State Median Income with the cost of paying their utility and heating bills. The specifics on the assistance offered includes :
- Emergency and Crisis Assistance
- Regular Energy Bill Assistance
- Emergency Furnace Repair and Replacement
- Energy Conservation
- Community Outreach
- After Hours Crisis Service
- Service Disconnection Assistance
File taxes for free
The Milwaukee County Social Development Commission (SDC) is also the lead agency for the MABC program, and this organization focuses on three facets that can provide residents with ongoing financial assistance: free tax filing services, education/awareness, and also asset development, budgeting, and outcome evaluation. The free tax filing service that is offered promotes the earned income tax credit, other state and federal tax credits, including the child tax credits.
Low interest loans
A loan program known as Ways to Work provides low interest loans for transportation reasons. The financing is offered to low and moderate income families who cannot qualify for traditional loans from banks or other financial institutions. These low interest loans are used to provide financing to purchase or repair autos, and also ensure transportation to jobs and/or school, which helps provide subsequent economic stability. The interest rates are low, and the terms are flexible. These loans can be a great option for people who need ways to get out of debt.
Recipients can repay these loans over a period of up to 30 months (which will depend on the loan amount) at a moderate interest rate, and then the money is made available to other applicants when the loan is repaid. Click here to read more on auto loans from Ways to Work.
Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP)
The NIP program, run by SDC, is a home repair and maintenance that was designed to correct building code violations, to address lead-based paint hazards, and to make building component repairs and upgrades. The program consist of two parts: Mechanical work and maintenance work.
- The maintenance portion of NIP will provide homeowners with a forgivable grant which will require the homeowner to own and occupy their home for five years after completion of the upgrade. Then, at the end of the five year period, the loan is forgiven.
- The mechanical portion of the NIP program consists of work on electric, plumbing, HVAC, and concrete service walks. Costs for mechanical work done on a home are not forgivable, but rather they convert into a zero interest deferred payment loan to the homeowner. The homeowner may decide to repay the mechanical loan cost at any time, but they definitely need to repay the cost of repairs if and when the house is ever sold. The program is well funded, and the average NIP budget is approximately $25,000 per home.
Milwaukee weatherization program
Otherwise known as the Home Energy Plus Program. To receive aid from the program, an owner or tenant needs to for Energy Assistance before qualifying for the weatherization component. Depending on the results determined from a free home energy audit, owner or renter occupied homes may receive one or more of the following energy efficiency measures. Heating systems update, insulation, sealing air leaks (such as holes & gaps), appliance update and replacement and also energy saving products (such as light bulbs, water saving devices and safety items).
For more information or to apply to an assistance program, contact the Social Development Commission at 4041 North Richards Street, Milwaukee Wisconsin, 53212. (414) 906-2700. Or find more information.
The city of Milwaukee has a foreclosure mediation program in place. It will ensure homeowners and lenders meet with a third party to ensure all alternatives a foreclosure are reviewed before proceeding.
Affordable Housing Center of America can help Milwaukee area homeowners who are behind on their mortgage. Families and individuals that are having problems with paying their monthly mortgage may be able to get assistance. Counselors from the agency will advocate on homeowners behalf and work with their lender to negotiate or mediate an affordable solution to mortgage difficulties. The foreclosure prevention program is designed to promote foreclosure prevention and homeownership preservation through effective phone mortgage default counseling, mediation programs and an extensive network of loan servicers and banks that their housing our counselors can turn to. Dial (414) 444-6902.
Lightstreams Community Development Corporation (phone (414) 466-4999) is a federal government HUD-approved, housing agency providing foreclosure prevention counseling services and advice.
Another agency is Select Milwaukee, Inc. provides advice, guidance, and support in the form of the following programs. They offer special mortgage and grant programs and they as well are a HUD-approved housing counseling agency that offers a host of foreclosure prevention services. Phone number (414) 562-5070.
United Community Center runs a HUD approved program that will help prevent foreclosure actions. Dial (414) 384-3100. Find additional Wisconsin foreclosure assistance programs.
JP Morgan Chase has opened a center in Milwaukee for borrowers who have a mortgage from this lender. Clients can stop by or call the center for free advice and to get access to one on one housing counseling. Read more.
Budget counseling and emergency financial assistance
The local Milwaukee Wisconsin office of GreenPath Debt Solutions administers (phone(414) 282-8064) several assistance programs for local families. They include Budget Counseling, free foreclosure prevention, bankruptcy advice, and credit repair and debt reduction.
- They offer a multitude of free, confidential, budget/credit counseling program that can help Milwaukee families reduce their debts. Among other services housing and credit counselors will help with budgeting, debt management, money management and credit issues through face-to-face counseling sessions with the debtor.
- One of the services in great demand today is access to the HUD-approved housing counseling that they offer. This can help people deal with an immediate housing crisis, and ensure clients become self-sufficient over the long term.
- Get information on additional credit counseling agencies in Milwaukee.
The Salvation Army also has several assistance programs for people who need help. They include programs for people who are now homeless or on the verge of it, who need money for rent, and people who are about to have their utility or gas service disconnected.
Not only can the Salvation Army provide limited amounts of cash for paying bills, but they offer various other social services and low income programs. Everything from holiday assistance, food, to career counseling and employment services are administered. About 10 different centers and thrift stores operate around Milwaukee County. Dial (414) 302-4300, or read more Wisconsin Salvation Army financial assistance.
Community Advocates has information on various rent and housing programs, and they also administer some rent assistance programs. Call (414) 449-4777.
MJFLA - Milwaukee Jewish Association can provide a limited number of no interest loans for basic needs and other bills. The funds can be used for housing expenses (such as rent, utility bills, security deposits, or repairs) as well as other expenses. The funds can pay for car repairs, job training, or even educational costs can be addressed by the Jewish association. Read more Milwaukee County no interest loans.
Emergency cash grants are available from a few different non-profits, as noted below. The funds are for income qualified families with children that are facing a crisis. It can be imminent eviction, currently homelessness, or disaster such as a fire or flood. EA grants can be used to pay for housing costs, such as a rent or security deposit payment. Other uses can be for food, heating bills, or a medication.
- YWCA, America Works Of Wisconsin, Inc., 1915 N Martin Luther King Dr. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212, call (414) 267-3900
- Maximus - W2 Office West Central Region is at 4201 N 27th St. Call (414) 203-8500.
- Ross Innovative Employment Solutions. Address is 6550 N 76th St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53223. Dial (414) 760-6060
United Migrant Opportunity Services. This non-profit also runs the emergency grant program, which is referenced above. Other resources include child care, job training as well as GED Testing Center for parents. Or get referrals to housing solutions, including loan programs. 2701 S Chase, Milwaukee, WI 53207, or learn more.
Rescue Mission is a faith based charity that offers support to the very low income and homeless in Milwaukee County. Resources are offered for basic needs, such as shelter, free food, clothing, and school supplies. They also offer transitional housing from programs such as Fresh Start and case management / job placement for the homeless and low income. Click here.
Milwaukee Advocates administers numerous services for the region. Aid is for residents of the county facing a crisis. Some of the resources offered are below.
- Transitional housing and case management is for those leaving a shelter.
- Advocacy, including for seniors, information on SSDI applications, and more.
- Financial aid – This may include funds to pay for a partial rent payment, utility or heating bill, or a security deposit.
- Several education programs are offered to from the agency, staff and teachers.
- Housing - Crisis Advocates also offer tenant / landlord mediation to prevent evictions as well as the loans from the Security Deposit Guarantee and Rent Bridge Program.
- Free clothing, including Christmas assistance, may be offered from Bottomless Closet.
The main center is at 728 N James Lovell St, Milwaukee, WI 53233. Call the center at (414) 449-4777. Or for more details, locate resources from Milwaukee Community Advocates.
Center For Veterans Issue – This location supports veterans in Milwaukee County. There is transitional housing, emergency rental assistance, and other financial aid. All services are also offered along with job training and case management, which can lead to self-sufficiency. Also get help in apply for VA and government benefits. (414) 562-6250
Help for legal issues - There is support from pro-bono attorneys, including from the Legal Aid Society, on many issues. Residents can get advice on filing for bankruptcy, free legal aid in stopping evictions, foreclosure counseling, and income maximization. This means assistance for completing applications to SSI or other Wisconsin or federal benefits. Read Milwaukee legal aid.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Milwaukee offers debt repayment plans, HUD approved foreclosure counseling, budgeting, and other assistance for paying bills and debts. Phone (414) 482-8801.
Catholic Charities - The organization provides services to Milwaukee County and surrounding regions. Much of the aid they provide is indirect, so will be referrals and guidance. However the charity may have some limited funds for paying housing, food and energy costs. Other resources include support for senior citizens, immigrant programs, prescription medications, and assistance programs for children. Read Catholic Charity Wisconsin assistance.
Heating costs and energy conservation - Federal, state, and local non-profits can all assist low income families with paying their heating bills. The state may even provide for the repair or replacement of your furnace. Learn more on resources available in Milwaukee County.
Assistance for stopping eviction as well as foreclosures are arranged. These are part of homelessness prevention programs in Milwaukee County. Some of what may be provided is as follows.
- HUD sponsored grants or legal counseling.
- Housing programs for the vulnerable, including immigrants, single moms, and seniors.
- Information on utility company payment plans and programs, including for water or heating costs.
- Other services are provided too. Click here.
St. Vincent De Paul Society Of Milwaukee - The organization of churches and non-profits offers services that are directed to the poor and elderly. They may have limited financial assistance from time to time, information on government programs and charities, support, food, and more. Call the Milwaukee Wisconsin agency at (414) 462-7863. Or continue with Milwaukee St. Vincent assistance programs.
Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services runs the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). This program can help families avoid an eviction, provide both short and long term rent assistance, funds for security deposits, credit counseling, and money for utility and heating bills. It was created from the government stimulus program.
Several other public assistance resources are offered by DHS. The agency operates a housing division in which shelter, home repairs, and transitional housing is offered, including Shelter Plus Care. There may also be emergency heating bill assistance, funds for burials, and food stamp applications. (414) 289-6542, or more on public assistance in Milwaukee.
Clothing and basic needs in Milwaukee - Receive free items and vouchers at a clothing closet or donation center. Locations are around the region and provide free Christmas assistance, gifts, work clothes, school supplies, and other support. Click here Milwaukee clothing closets.
Non-profit and government rent programs can be turned to by tenants facing homelessness. Resources that may be available in Milwaukee range from grants to pay rent or a security deposit to placement into a low income house or apartment. Or particular focus is on offering help to families with children as well as the elderly. Find more details on rental assistance in Milwaukee.
Parishes, churches, and religious organizations help families living in Milwaukee County. There are a few focuses, and they include medical care, job programs, food, and clothing. Some also help individuals apply for emergency financial help as well. Everyone can be assisted from a church, not matter their religion or background. Seniors, children, immigrants, and pregnant women are clients (among others). Find more on Milwaukee churches.
Financial assistance in a crisis - A number of social services and emergency programs are offered by the county. Agencies such as SDC and other organizations across Milwaukee accept applications and distribute cash and grants to the needy, families with children, and the low income. Read more Milwaukee emergency assistance.
Several non-profits administer the Emergency Assistance Grant and/or Job Access Loan. The grant is available in Milwaukee to help low income families with children and who meet other terms. If the applicant is facing eviction, homelessness, or may have their electric or gas service turned off then this grant may be able to help them make it through the crisis.
Transitional housing programs, both short term shelters and longer term apartments, are scatted across the Milwaukee region. Low income families, veterans, single parents, and the homeless can get a place to stay. Other support includes case management and help in locating a new, permanent home or assistance in applying for security deposit financial assistance. Learn more.
Milwaukee County Department on Aging is a great resource for senior citizens and people over the age of 55. They coordinate numerous assistance programs for the less fortunate and can provide information to people of all income levels. Free meals can be delivered to residents or served at senior centers. Caregivers can get support. Other resources involved help in buying prescription drugs, financial aid, information on Medicare, and much more. Call (414) 289-6874, or read more Wisconsin Agency Aging programs.
The JAL/Job Access Loan can be used to address an immediate financial emergency that is not caused by being fired from a job or failure to accept a new position. It is a loan and it will be issued to help someone obtain or continue employment. The money may also be used to repair or purchase a vehicle needed for employment.
- America Works Of Wisconsin, Inc, 1915 N Martin Luther King Dr, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212. Call (414) 267-3900
- Maximus - W2 Office West Central Region, 4201 N 27th St 4th Floor, Eaton Building, Milwaukee, WI 53216, dial (414) 203-8500
- Ross Innovative Employment Solutions, 6550 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI 53223, call (414) 760-6060
- United Migrant Opportunity Services, South Region, 2701 S Chase, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207, call (414) 389-6600 for information on the loans/grants.
Free toys, meals, and food baskets are available. There are charities that help children as well as low income families. Assistance is available at all of the major holidays, including Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Find holiday help in Milwaukee County.
Milwaukee County resources and programs that cover all of Wisconsin
Get help from these programs and agencies that help people across the state, including in Milwaukee.
Free food and access to pantries
If you need help keeping food on the table, Friedens Community Ministries provides emergency food relief for those at risk of hunger and low income people. (414) 289-6030
The Milwaukee Christian Center also runs an emergency Food Pantry that will offer individuals and families with a three-day supply of free food, household products, groceries, and referrals to community services and other government programs. (414) 645-5350.
Several other food banks, pantries, churches, and other charities are located in the region. Find more food pantries in Milwaukee.
Madre Angela Dental Clinic is a dental service that ensures access to the full range of quality oral healthcare services for children and adults with limited income or no health insurance. (414) 326-2077
Another free clinic in the Milwaukee area is Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. They provide free, high quality health care. Call (414) 672-1353 to make an appointment or to learn more.
Packard Avenue Community Clinic helps patients with no health insurance, and will provides short-term basic health care; risk assessments; women's health; health screenings; podiatry; health education and medical counseling; and immunization referrals. Dial (414) 769-2239.
Angel of Hope Health Clinic assists Milwaukee area individuals and families. They offer primary health care services to low income and uninsured patients. Phone number (414) 385-5394.
People with no or limited health insurance can turn to Open Door Free Clinic. It offers preventative health care, limited free prescription drugs, lab work, and other medical care. Also, click here to find additional free prescription medications.
Milwaukee dental clinics - The state of Wisconsin, and Milwaukee area, have several different free medical clinics that patients can call for assistance. More on Milwaukee free dental clinics.
Federal government qualified health centers also operate in the county, and these locations are required by law to offer free medical care to the most disadvantaged in the community. So those without insurance, unemployed, and people who meet poverty guidelines have a couple dozen clinics to turn to for assistance. Read more Milwaukee health care clinics, and the resources they can offer.
Legal consultations and tips
If you are facing an eviction, need free foreclosure assistance, and have other needs and can’t afford an attorney, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc. (phone (414) 727-5300) provides free legal advice, representation, consultations and resolution of civil legal problems affecting individuals and families with low or moderate incomes. Read more on Wisconsin legal aid.
Milwaukee based Legal Action of Wisconsin (phone (414) 278-7722) offers a program known as Volunteer Lawyer Project (VLP) which provides intake that will assist the following kinds of cases: consumer and bankruptcy cases; predatory lending; unemployment compensation claims; security deposits and earnest money deposit and other landlord/tenant money claims (for tenants only); rent evictions; foreclosure prevention, and other free legal advice.