MILWAUKEE, Wis.— With just 24 days until the expiration of the federal evictions moratorium, last week Opportunity Wisconsin and BLOC hosted a live virtual roundtable on Facebook to discuss what’s at stake as this housing crisis looms large for so many across the Badger State. An estimated 131,400 Wisconsinites are at risk of losing their homes if Congress doesn’t act before year’s end.
“We need an influx of dollars, and we need it from our government to help us,” said Kathy Beeksma, City of Ashland Housing Authority. “We need help, and we need our government to get their act together and start helping those that are in situations like we see here tonight.” [WATCH]
Wisconsinites across the Badger State have battled the impossible situation of stagnant wages and the rising cost of housing, and living in general, for years. Now, battered by the health and economic crisis caused by the botched response to the pandemic, the issue is even more pressing. In the wake of the November election, the group urged new elected leaders to act and focus on bringing relief to their communities on the ground instead of playing politics with an election that’s long since concluded.
“In Wisconsin, the legislature bears a responsibility because they have hamstrung whatever steps the Governor could take to help alleviate the problem here,” said Anne Brown, an Eau Claire resident facing impending housing insecurity. “Obviously, the Trump administration has no compassion…they don’t care about me, they don’t care about the little guy, and that’s a problem. Hopefully, the incoming administration will be an improvement, and I expect that it will, but that doesn’t help me when on January 1, the landlord files the eviction. I can’t wait for the new administration to act. I’ll be out of my house by then.” [WATCH]
“I wish I had more resources to turn out to, but I’m just relying on prayer right now,” said Mary Cooper-Wells, a Milwaukee resident facing housing insecurity. [WATCH]
With the compounding impact of COVID-19 on the economy and public health, Wisconsin’s homeless shelters are also bracing themselves as they anticipate increased demand as evictions are executed over the next few months.
“The extension of the moratorium is going to have to take place…I don’t know what they were thinking about to end this thing on December 31. Coldest months of the year,” said Jacqueline Clark, Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union. “Fortunately we’ve been having good weather. We’re at a crisis, and we really need to demand what we need to survive, and that’s mainly keeping a roof over our heads. That’s the foundation.” [WATCH]
“I would say, remember we’re people. There’s a face and a name behind these numbers they look at, and if they really want to look at economic drivers, families are the number one economic driver in the country. We need to help families, and the best thing we can do is to ensure stability in their homes,” said Beeksma. [WATCH]
Members of the media unable to attend, but wishing to speak with event participants should email [email protected]