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Assistance from Social Development Commission in Milwaukee.

Social Development Commission is the government supported community action agency for Milwaukee County Wisconsin. They administer numerous assistance programs for the region, ranging from funds or loans to pay bills up to job placement, education, and self-sufficiency. Some of the primary resources and services in the greater Milwaukee region are below.

Financial assistance from Social Development Commission (SDC)

Heating and energy bill assistance is for the working poor and low-income residents. The community action agency will offer them grants and other forms of financial benefits in paying for fuel costs, restoration of utility services, or emergency furnace repair and replacement. When facing an emergency, this assistance includes funds to pay for back bills or the retention of utility services, oil deliveries, reconnections, deposits and furnace repair or replacement.

Case managers also offer referrals for other heating related services, such as LIHEAP. Any aid offered is intended to help pay a portion of the household annual heating costs. The amount of heating assistance paid out by SDC or government resources varies according to factors such as household size, income level, and their total household heating costs.

Medications from the PARS - Prescription Advocacy and Referral Service is available. A resource is run in partnership with the Social Development Commission as well as the Helen Bader Foundation. As part of this, get help in finding and paying for prescription medication from participating pharmaceutical and drug companies.

Staff from SDC and the PARS program staff assist clients with completing and submitting the necessary paperwork, applications and other documentation to the pharmaceutical companies. So the medications, even including refills, will come from the manufacturers prescription assistance programs. This needs to also be offered in close coordination with the patients clinic/physician who prescribed the medication to the patient.




Another number of resources are available as part of Project GAIN, also known as Gaining Access to Income Now. This is offered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Social Development Commission (SDC), the Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund, and the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty.

Case managers will provide referrals to short term financial support, including for homeless prevention and rent help. They also offer in-home financial case management for families struggling with economic hardships or issues such as unemployment. All clients need to be referred by DCF.

A wide range of emergency financial programs and social services will be provided to the participating families including financial planning, assistance with accessing public benefits, and funds for stopping a short-term financial crises. It is a very limited scope program, and since resources are limited, loans may be issued in some cases by the agency or its partners.

Food is available from the Summer Food Service Program and other resources, such as SDC Youth. This can serve items such as infant formula, hot meals, cereal, groceries, free snacks and baby food to children and low income parents. Pantries, churches, and charities across Milwaukee County participate.

Parents can get help in paying for child care. The team at the Social Development Commission know that a job with livable wages is important for parents, and this can be hard to achieve with the costs of paying for day care while working or in training. So assistance is available in Milwaukee, most of which is government funded. Find how to apply for a child care subsidy program.

These, and other resources are available at 4041 N. Richards Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212. Call 414-906-2700 for information or intake.





Budgeting, credit counseling and advice

VITA, or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, is offered as part of the Milwaukee Asset Building Coalition (MABC). Note only is their free income tax assistance, but VITA also assists low to moderate income families and works with them as they achieve financial independence through planning, education and income development. The non-profit Social Development Commission is the lead agency for both VITA and MABC.

Get information on establishing checking and savings accounts, receive financial literacy on individual asset development and money management programs surrounding asset accumulation and maintenance. VITA is one tool to help move people in this nation, including in Milwaukee, out of poverty. So get help with completing and filing tax returns as well as other financial literacy.

General Financial Literacy, including free credit counseling, is offered as one of the SDC programs. The non-profit will offer Energy Bill Assistance which is for empowering individuals to take charge of their finances. Among other tools is the My Money Help Line Coalition. This is a toll-free hotline for people who are seeking to be connected with free or low-cost professional resources (such as debt reduction) or that have  questions about finances. Get free advice on foreclosure prevention, credit repair, starting a business or buying a home. Call 1-888-861-3111 for details.

Energy conservation and weatherization is a free service to the owner of a home or tenant if they qualify. Some of the no-cost, basic weatherization services can be Insulation or replacement of water heater, testing and/or replacing a refrigerator or furnace, home heating bill reduction, health and safety inspection, and more. The goal is to help households in Milwaukee reduce home heating and cooling bills and make the home safer to live in. Find more details on the weatherization benefits.

Social Development Commission Adult Basic Education programs and GED can help the unemployed or really anyone improve existing skills. Experienced instructors that partner with SDC make use of resources such as computerized assessments to match teaching levels to student needs. Those who enroll will be able to benefit from the most current, cutting edge teaching materials, computer labs, and other tools. This also includes GED and also HSED testing which provides the opportunity for individuals to improve their skills set and employability. It will also help people take the next step toward post-secondary education in Milwaukee County.

College students can benefit from STRIVE, or the Success Through Rewarding Internships and Volunteer Experiences. It helps teens by coordinating internships and getting them in place for future employment.





Another education resource is Boosting Employability Soft Skills Training. The B.E.S.T. Program from Social Development Commission combines both work experience and soft skills training to develop individuals’ work performance, ethic, skill set, and even attitude.

Students and job seekers get help with attendance, time management, accountability, honesty, and anger management. Clients of the community action agency are placed in appropriate positions and contexts to gain experience in their career and develop a successful work history. Participants of these SDC employment resources are given an opportunity to enhance their work skills with the ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient through maybe part or ideally full-time employment. (414) 906-2796.


By Jon McNamara

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