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Wisconsin emergency assistance.

Emergency assistance is offered to low income families in Wisconsin. Priority is given to families with children and people who may be at most risk, such as seniors or the disabled. The Emergency Assistance program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Financial aid can help people keep their home, pay energy bills, or in a limited number of cases assistance clients in finding a new home or apartment.

In order to receive assistance from this state funded program, the applicant needs to have some type of emergency crisis situation. They must be faced with impending homelessness, an energy crisis such as running out of oil, fire, flood, disconnection of utilities or some type of natural disaster. Some type of emergencies covered include:

  • People who have received a foreclosure or eviction notice may qualify for housing assistance.
  • Low income families in Wisconsin who have a disconnect notice for their utilities or if your heat or electricity is shut off you may be able to get aid.
  • Programs can help people who currently live in a shelter or transitional housing find a new home, and pay for security deposits and rent when they move.
  • Or if you are just starting to fall behind on your mortgage, rent, or bills, help and guidance can be provided.

There are a number of qualifications that need to be met below, however a focus is on preventing homelessness (and paying rent) as well as paying for heating and energy bills.

Wisconsin emergency assistance application process

To learn more or to apply for help, you need to apply at your local Wisconsin Works agency, or dial 855-757-4539 for the nearest agency. There are conditions that need to be met, and they can include some or all of the following. The total amount of financial assistance provided will be based on your family size and your personal situation.

  • Your family needs to meet low income guidelines.
  • Families must apply for other payment options and programs first, so this aid is so called last resort.
  • There must be at least one adult and one minor child in the household that is applying.
  • Families can’t have received an emergency financial assistance payment or grant from the state of Wisconsin in the past 12 months.







When applying, you must submit significant information and proof of your hardship. This can include a copy of eviction or foreclosure notice, proof of income, and information on residents who live in the house.

The program does try to work as quickly as possible. One of the main goals of the Wisconsin emergency assistance program is to issue a payment within five business days of the date you applied for help. The cash payment that will be offered to applicants may take longer if your family is homeless or on the verge of it, and has not yet found a new home.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families administers the financial assistance program, and you can dial 855-757-4539 to learn more. While the program does try to work as quickly as possible, funding is limited and unfortunately not everyone can qualify for help.

Another state emergency program is the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). This federal funded government program provides federal funding and grants to Community Action Agencies in your county. This grant program is available throughout Wisconsin and seeks to address the causes of poverty at the local community level.  Community action agencies can help people become self-sufficient over the long term, at the same time as providing short term financial help for bills, rent, and other expenses.

By Jon McNamara


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