Rental Housing and the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency: What’s Next?
Wisconsin’s temporary hold on evictions was put into place on March 26, 2020 (and now expired) to help residents maintain stable housing during the unpredictable and unprecedented times brought on by COVID-19. A federal temporary eviction moratorium was initiated in September 2020, which is expected to last through 2020. Community Advocates is experiencing a surge of calls from households still experiencing hardship who are worried or confused about what is next and how to get help. Here are some things landlords and tenants need to know.
Most tenants cannot be evicted during the federal eviction moratorium but they are still required to pay their rent. If tenants have not been able to keep up with their rent payments, they will be at risk of receiving an eviction notice or filing when the moratorium expires if the back rent is not satisfied or arrangements are not made.
Tips for Tenants during COVID-19
You May Be Eligible for Help
Temporary rent assistance may be available for tenants who experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19 based on their circumstance. To apply, go to this page to begin the application process, or request an application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 414-270-4646. Tenants do not need to wait until they receive a 5-day notice to apply.
Landlords experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 related disruptions may be eligible for a mortgage deferral for up to 180 days. Assistance programs and deferrals can only be accessed by proactively calling your lender and requesting a payment plan. NOTE: Application deadlines differ among lenders, so reach out sooner rather than later. Take Root Milwaukee’s website has comprehensive information and a list of the direct mortgage help lines for various local financial institutions at this link.
How to Get Help
Community Advocates and our partners through the Rental Housing Resource Center -- Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Legal Action of Wisconsin, and Mediate Milwaukee -- created a Rent HelpLine for tenants and landlords who are having financial hardship because of the COVID-19 crisis. Tenants and landlords can contact the Rent HelpLine at 414-270-4646 or email@example.com for information and resources to address their rental housing problems. Tenants can begin the application process by going to this link and filling out a rent assistance application.
Communityadvocates.net also has COVID-19-related information on housing, energy assistance, food assistance, wellness, unemployment benefits, and more for individuals and families who need help during this public health emergency.
Si necesita ayuda con el alquiler debido al coronavirus, por favor visite communityadvocates.net/who-we-are/covid-19-response-and-resources.html o llame el Rent Helpline aquí 414-270-4646.
Por más información sobre los recursos disponibles por propietarios como Usted o sus inquilinos, por favor visite communityadvocates.net/who-we-are/covid-19-response-and-resources.html o llame el Rent Helpline aquí 414-270-4646. Community Advocates tiene asistentes que le pueden servir en inglés o español.
What to Expect When You Call the Rent Help Line?
The existing Community Advocates Housing team is monitoring incoming calls / emails to the Rent Help Line and assessing client needs, including temporary financial assistance, legal, and mediation.
Callers are directed to a voicemail and asked to provide a brief summary of their housing issue and return contact information. Calls are returned in the order they are received and our team is doing everything they can to return messages within three business days. It is appreciated if callers wait the full days prior to calling back or follow-up through email.
Due to the extremely high volume of calls we recommend that landlords and tenants email their housing concern and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org if at all possible. Otherwise, callers can leave a message and a Housing Advocate will return the call.
When the Housing Advocate returns the call if the housing concern is related to financial strain and a need for temporary rent assistance they will ask you some questions about your income and income loss. It is helpful to have this information readily available.
Community Advocates and our partners understand what a trying time this has been for many households and we are here to help.