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Senator Baldwin worked to pass the bipartisan Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to help provide immediate support for Wisconsin families. This action by Congress is another strong step forward to help Wisconsin meet the challenges we face. We are all in this together, and Senator Baldwin will continue her work across party lines to take additional steps to get through this public health crisis, stabilize our economy, and help us all move forward.
The newly enacted legislation extends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 establishes an emergency rental assistance program through the Department of Treasury, which will provide $25 billion to help families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills and remain stably housed, while also helping rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs, including the costs of necessary to ensure residents’ health and safety. The bill also provides $3.7 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance to help low-income households pay their energy bills.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- To find and connect with your local public housing agency (administering public housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers in Wisconsin), click here
- To find and connect with a HUD-approved housing counselor, click here
- HUD is also providing COVID-19 guidance to public housing agencies, homelessness organizations, CDBG grantees, and other HUD-assisted housing providers on its website at: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus
- Additional information can be found at: https://www.hud.gov/states/wisconsin/renting
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- USDA is providing COVID-19 guidance to assisted households, grantees, property owners, and single family and multifamily borrowers on its website at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus
Legal Services in Wisconsin
- Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. (LAW)
- Legal Action provides free civil legal services to low-income Wisconsinites and senior citizens regarding housing. Visit https://www.legalaction.org/ or call 855-947-2529
- Wisconsin Judicare, Inc. (Judicare)
- Judicare provides legal services for cases involving housing to residents in certain counties. Visit http://www.judicare.org/
- To connect with your local community action agency and see what resources are available in your area, please visit: https://wiscap.org/member-agencies/
- For more information on how to apply for help paying your utility bills, please visit: http://www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov/ or call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947)
See below for more information from the Department of Treasury, the agency overseeing implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
Is there an extension of the eviction moratorium?
Yes. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 extends the CDC’s eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021.
What kind of assistance could renters receive under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021?
Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months if the grantee determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available. The payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in eviction of an eligible household is prioritized. Assistance must be provided to reduce an eligible household’s rental arrears before the household may receive assistance for future rent payments. Once a household’s rental arrears are reduced, grantees may only commit to providing future assistance for up to three months at a time. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period if needed and the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded.
Who is eligible to receive emergency rental assistance?
An “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
- Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.
Rental assistance provided to an eligible household should not be duplicative of any other federally funded rental assistance provided to such household.
Eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to application for assistance and households with income at or below 50 percent of the area median are to be prioritized for assistance.
Household income is determined as either the household’s total income for calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application. For household incomes determined using the latter method, income eligibility must be redetermined every 3 months.
How will renters (and property owners) apply for, and receive, assistance?
An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of that eligible household. Households and landlords must apply through programs established by state and local grantees. In general, funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household. Households and landlords should not submit applications for assistance to Treasury.
Where can I learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance program?
Visit the Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance program webpage at: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program
Are there resources for homeowners who need individualized advice or legal help?
There are numerous state, local, and non-profit housing counseling agencies that give free advice and assistance to homeowners and those facing foreclosure. To contact one of these agencies, homeowners can contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. If you are in need of legal assistance, you may wish to contact a legal aid attorney.
What if borrowers are having trouble paying their property taxes?
Many homeowners have an escrow account from which their servicer pays their property taxes and required insurance payments. When borrowers have an escrow account, even if they are in forbearance, property taxes and insurance will be forwarded on their behalf. But some homeowners with a mortgage, as well as homeowners who no longer have a mortgage on their property, may pay property taxes directly to their locality. If homeowners fall behind on these property taxes, they can face fees and ultimately tax foreclosure.
If a homeowner is unable to make their property tax payments as scheduled, they should contact their local government immediately to discuss a payment plan. If they have trouble reaching a repayment plan agreement, homeowners can also contact a HUD-approved housing counselor or legal aid attorney.
Additional Information and Resources
For general information and resources about coronavirus for Wisconsinites, please click here.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this webpage does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice from Senator Baldwin. All information, content, and materials available on this page are for general informational purposes only.
This webpage shares information, email addresses and links to other sites or entities on the Internet that are not maintained by Senator Baldwin. Resources, email addresses and links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Senator Baldwin of any of the products, services or opinions of the entity or organization or individual. Senator Baldwin bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.