Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Today the Milwaukee County Board’s Finance Committee unanimously approved an innovative plan to reduce the traumatic epidemic of evictions in Milwaukee County called Housing Opportunities and Minimizing Evictions for Stabilization or HOMES.
“Today we took a major step in the direction of keeping families in their homes and preventing homelessness in our community. We all know about the statistics regarding inequality – now is the time for action. Thank you to the Finance Committee for your leadership in funding a solution to end evictions and stabilize housing, which is a human right,” said Supervisor Dimitrijevic, the author of the HOMES plan.
“Women of color are disproportionately affected by evictions and we must do all we can to end this traumatic cycle tearing apart families. Using these best practices to reduce evictions and provide defense to people in need will produce positive outcomes in all parts of our neighborhoods especially students in our public schools,” said Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, cosponsor of the initiative.
HOMES is a collaborative effort of the Milwaukee County Department of Housing, Sheriff’s Office, Treasurer’s Office and community partners. The plan creates a housing stabilization assistant to coordinate a new housing stabilization fund, which will help families facing evictions stay in their homes by providing emergency assistance funding. The housing stabilization assistant would also mediate housing relationships between tenants and landlords.
Over 4,000 cases of eviction are processed in Milwaukee County each year with an approximate cost to the Sheriff’s Department alone of nearly $300,000.
The HOMES program also adds funding to the successful Eviction Defense Program led by Legal Action Wisconsin. Approximately less than 1% of tenants facing evictions in court have legal representation causing an imbalanced situation and unjust outcomes.
Supervisors Dimitrijevic and Nicholson introduced HOMES in response to the devastating cycle of evictions hurting families in our community.