Milwaukee Common Council votes to accept $17 million in housing assistance

NOW: Milwaukee Common Council votes to accept $17 million in housing assistance

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Updated: 2:52 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2021

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Common Council is making it clear they want to help families who are struggling to pay their rent and mortgage during the pandemic.

The council passed a unanimous resolution Tuesday, Feb. 9, to accept $17 million in federal funds. 

The money will be distributed to local housing organizations and give rental assistance to those who need it right now.

"There's only one element here and it's the human element, and we're talking about homelessness and we're talking about housing," said Alderman Mark Borkowski. "This is an opportunity for us, as a community, to accept this money, and I believe that all of us in our heart of hearts would want to wholeheartedly support this."

It's still unclear when the city will receive the funding.

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Posted: 3:32 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2021

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The pandemic has created a housing crisis in Milwaukee as people who have lost income struggle to pay their rent. 

On Monday, Feb. 8, Milwaukee's Common Council was challenged to take action.

"If we are serious about taming the pandemic, elected officials must do everything they can," said MATC student Katherine MacDonald. 

MacDonald says she'd be homeless if not for a rent assistance program. 

She and others called on the council to accept $17 million from the federal government to help struggling renters. 

The council votes Tuesday, Feb. 9.

"I don't use this phrase very often, but it is a no-brainer," said Colleen Foley, executive director of the Legal Aid Society. "It is not close whatsoever. It's a game-changer for families who need to stay out of eviction court."

"I believe that the council will do the right thing tomorrow and making sure that we accept this money, this federal money so that we can make sure that citizens in our city -- the neediest people in our city -- have the opportunity to benefit and stay in their homes," said Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson. 

The speakers also urged members of Congress to approve President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

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