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Milwaukee County emergency homeless prevention programs.

Eviction assistance, foreclosure counseling, and rapid rehousing are all part of the homeless prevention programs available in Milwaukee County. There are non-profit organizations as well as government run organizations, such as the Department of Human Services, that offer these programs in the community. The goal is to keep low income as well as struggling families in their home by stopping either an eviction or foreclosure filing.

Clients of these programs or agencies, such as Community Advocates, are given support in one of several ways. They include the following.

  • -Pro-bono attorneys provide free legal aid to income qualified tenants as well as homeowners.
  • -Financial help may be provided using ESG grants, and this will provide money for paying expenses such as rental arrears, utility or water bills, or security deposits.
  • -Residents of the city and county of Milwaukee may be moved, or rehoused, into other accommodations ranging from motels to transitional housing.
  • -Other eviction help may be provided on a case by case basis.
  • -JAL (Job Access Loans) can also help with rent and housing needs.

There are no restrictions as to who can apply for homeless prevention. Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and living situations. Grants maybe provided to everyone from single moms to senior citizens facing homelessness, and there are also programs for immigrants and non-English speakers. Another group often assisted are the unemployed who are waiting on their public aid to start up.

Assistance for tenants and homeowners in Milwaukee County

Keeping the family in their current home or apartment is the goal. Therefore homeless prevention is always stressed in the region. A combination of monetary support (including grants, vouchers or loans) are used along with more case management services. The number of agencies that participate in these eviction or foreclosure programs is extensive.





Milwaukee County residents will need to formally apply for help. Non-profits such as Maximus and Center for Veteran Issues require proof of income, identification, and residency. Information should be brought to the agency on what their budget looks like, and where they get their monthly income from. As these programs are only for people that can contribute as the agencies will not pay 100% of what is due on their own.

If financial help is provided, it will normally come in the form of federal funds from the Emergency Solution Grant program, or ESG. This is allocated yearly and the money goes to pay for housing related costs. This ranges from rent to energy or water bill, deposits on a new home, lease application fees, and other moving costs. Any aid is given for short term only, and this is why the applicant needs to have a source of income.

Tenants can also seek legal aid to stop an eviction. This is effective when the issue is one of a few different things. It can help for illegal evictions, it can resolve disputes between landlords or tenants, and it also incorporates mediation. Lawyers as well as paralegals in the city of Milwaukee volunteer their time and services for this cause.

Homeowners have more limited options. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for them to receive financial help as the cost of mortgage assistance can be so high. Therefore homeless prevention for people that own normally comes in the form of free counseling. Staff members will explore government backed loan modification programs, look into principal reduction, and work with the lender on repayment plans.

Rehousing services for the homeless

When an eviction or foreclosure can't be stopped, then the solution is rapid rehousing. Milwaukee County based agencies also offer this service to residents that meet the goals in place. The process incorporates some or all of the following.





Short term, emergency housing is arranged. The client will be placed into anything from a local motel (which is paid for using a voucher) to a shelter. This will get the person into some form of safe accommodation in Milwaukee County. This process will also be sure to provide them with basic needs, such as food, clothing, and medications.

Rehousing then will address future, longer term housing needs. The transitional process slowly, over time, grows into more permanent housing placement. If financial aid is needed, then ESG grants can help pay for the security deposit. Or if a legal review is needed of the proposed new lease contract, then this will be provided too. Whatever is required in order to rehouse the family in as little time as possible is done.

As noted above, the homeless prevention services in Milwaukee County are wide ranging and extensive. They incorporate everything from emergency eviction assistance to placement into local shelters and of course rehousing. While there are often waiting lists in place, and funds are limited, struggling homeowners or tenants can call (414) 449-4777 or 414-773-0211 for referrals.




By Jon McNamara

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