Wisconsin Help for Homeowners Program launches, will bring more than $92M in financial assistance

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Monday, March 7, announced the launch of the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program, which is set to provide more than $92 million in financial assistance to Wisconsin homeowners who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible homeowners can receive assistance with mortgage payments, local property taxes, and utilities, including internet, as well as housing counseling and legal services.

“The Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program will provide a lifeline to homeowners who might otherwise be at risk of losing their homes because of hardships created by the pandemic,” said Gov. Evers. “Whether because of losing hours at work, increasing household costs, or any number of other reasons, Wisconsin stands ready to help folks make ends meet and get back on their feet because no one should ever have to worry about keeping a roof over their head for themselves or their family.”

According to a news release, the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program recently received approval from the U.S. Treasury and will be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). The program will help Wisconsin homeowners who live in single-family homes, condominiums, duplexes, or factory-built homes as a primary residence, have experienced a qualified financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020, and earn a household income at or below 100 percent of the area median income. Even homeowners without a mortgage who meet income requirements and are struggling with overdue bills related to their homes are encouraged to apply for assistance. An online application is available now, and additional eligibility information is available on the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners website.

“With the ending of the federal moratorium on foreclosure, it is more critical than ever that households in need are aware of this assistance,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “We are determined to help eligible homeowners as quickly as possible through our network of partners across the state. We’re grateful for the partnerships with local community organizations that have helped us spread the word about assistance in the past and are hopeful we can reach homeowners when and where they need us the most.”

DOA has partnered with Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) agencies and Take Root Wisconsin to assist with applications and provide eligible services. DOA has also partnered with the Wisconsin State Treasurer, as well as local treasurers, to help homeowners in need of assistance with property tax arrearages. The Treasurer’s Homeowners Task Force helped ensure that all aspects of the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program were considered, from designing the application and program documents to identifying key stakeholders whose engagement was crucial.

“I am proud of the work we did with the Treasurer’s Homeownership Task Force that resulted in connections and partnerships needed to launch the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “Whether it’s someone who fell behind on their mortgage payments because they lost their job due to COVID-19 or someone who missed a property tax payment and is struggling to catch up, Wisconsinites need this important assistance. I know this network of treasurers, social service agencies, lenders, and community organizers will get this program off the ground and support homeowners in need.”

“WISCAP and the community action network is committed to reducing the hardships of economic insecurity,” said Dr. Brad Paul, Executive Director of WISCAP. “The Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program will help struggling Wisconsinites across the state stay in their homes. We are honored to be a partner in this effort.”

Applications are open on a first-come, first-served basis HERE. A dedicated call center will provide additional information about application options at 1-855-2-HOME-WI.

The Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program and the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund are funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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