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Wisconsin Rental Assistance program helps residents pay rent, avoid eviction

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The first of the month is quickly approaching.

Thousands of people are out of work across the state and may not be able to pay their rent.

The Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program is going to help residents who have fallen on hard times pay their rent.

We spoke to the Social Development Commission in Milwaukee who said they’re getting ready to help distribute that and help people avoid eviction.

“I have to do something to give my landlord something because I don’t want to get thrown out on the street,” said Dolores Curtis, a Milwaukee resident who’s having some trouble paying her rent.

Curtis is one of hundreds of people who fears eviction after an emergency order banning most evictions in Wisconsin expired Tuesday.

“I’m behind on my rent, and I cannot pay my rent, my light bill, and stuff like that because I only work one job and I don’t have enough money,” said Curtis. “So I do need help.”

“It’s hard to pay rent, get things met without being harassed or hassled with the landlord,” said Ronda Rockett, another Milwaukee resident who is also having a hard time paying her rent.

Both women came to the Social Development Commission seeking rental assistance.

The Evers administration launched a $25 million dollar program to help tenants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“We were one of the agencies selected across the state to administer those funds,” said George Hinton, the CEO of the Social Development Commission.

Funded by the CARES Act, Hinton says the program will help qualifying residents pay back rent or their security deposits.

The money will be given directly to landlords on behalf of the renter.

He says they’ve received hundreds of calls on this program since they opened back up Tuesday, and are asking people to be patient as they wait on training and guidance from the state on how to distribute those funds.

“We understand that this is a difficult time for them, and we have great empathy and want to support them the best we can,” said Hinton. “But we don’t want to give them incorrect information.”

Details for the plans are still being finalized, but the SDC is hoping to have more information on this next week.

For more info on eligibility, click here.

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