With federal eviction moratorium on shaky ground, new federal funding is helping to prevent a worsening crisis

Wisconsin received $306 million to help low-income renters pay back rent

MADISON, Wis.— Opportunity Wisconsin today released a new report highlighting how the American Rescue Plan is keeping Wisconsin housed during the pandemic, especially as the federal eviction moratorium faces an uncertain future. The nationwide ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent is set to expire on June 30, 2021.

Highlights from the report include: 

  • As of April 2021, 155,000 (13%) of Wisconsin renters are not current on rent.
  • Wisconsin received $306 million from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to help low-income renters pay the mounting backlog of rent.
  • Wisconsin received $90 million in grant funding for homelessness reduction programs.

“COVID-19 poured gasoline on Wisconsin’s housing crisis and the American Rescue Plan has quite literally been a lifesaver for so many across the Badger State,” said Meghan Roh, Opportunity Wisconsin program director. “Whether it’s homeowners, renters, or those experiencing homelessness—the American Rescue Plan makes major investments on behalf of those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. This would not have been possible without our elected leaders like Senator Baldwin, who helped deliver this critical relief. Unfortunately, instead of joining the fight on behalf of Wisconsin residents, folks like Senator Johnson and Wisconsin’s Republican congressional representatives fought against this important funding.”

A copy of Opportunity Wisconsin’s new report is posted below.

Members of the media wishing to speak with Wisconsin residents benefitting from the American Rescue Plan should email

How the ARP Keeps WI Housed

The pandemic has resulted in immense hardship for all Wisconsinites, including homeowners, renters, and those experiencing homelessness. Mortgages have become harder to pay, rent is late, and we’re all struggling to pay our basic bills. There is currently a federal eviction moratorium, but the situation could become dire if the moratorium is lifted and large numbers of Wisconsinites are still late on payments. The American Rescue Plan makes a major investment in assistance across the spectrum of housing to prevent this crisis when the federal moratorium is eventually lifted.

ARP in Wisconsin 
  • As of April 2021, 155,000 (13%) of Wisconsin renters are not current on rent.
  • Wisconsin received $306 million from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to help low-income renters pay the mounting backlog of rent.
  • Wisconsin received $90 million in grant funding for homelessness reduction programs.

ARP Provisions

On April 8th, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent $4.9 billion to states to help people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness via the HOME investment partnership program. HOME-ARP funding provides grants to 651 state, local, and insular area governments with the flexibility to implement programs to best meet local housing needs, like the development of affordable housing options or the construction of non-congregate shelters.

Housing and Rental Assistance
Stopping the housing crisis is essential in a world where we are all being asked to stay at home. By preventing foreclosures and evictions, we can keep people safe in their own homes and prevent them from getting sick. The ARP invests in several major programs that help homeowners, renters, and public housing tenants to ensure that nobody is forced from their housing during a global health crisis. This effort includes:

  • $5 billion emergency housing vouchers
  • $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance 
  • $10 billion for the homeowners assistance fund 
  • $750 billion for housing assistance and support services to Native Americans
  • $100 million in emergency assistance for rural housing
  • $100 million for housing counselors to provide services to households facing housing instability
  • $39 million for USDA section 502 and 504 direct loan borrowers
  • $20 million for Fair Housing Initiatives Programs
  • $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Impact on Wisconsin


  • As of March 2021, 155,000 (13%) of Wisconsin renters are not current on rent.
  • An estimated 4,515 people experienced homelessness in Wisconsin in 2020, including 1,838 people in families with children, 193 unaccompanied youth, and 337 veterans.
  • Milwaukee, WI ranked 8th in the nation for cities with the most eviction filings during COVID-19. Milwaukee has the highest Black population of any city in Wisconsin, and housing instability already disproportionately impacts non-white renters and homeowners. The pandemic has exacerbated a longstanding issue of racism in the Milwaukee housing market.

State-Specific Allocations

  • The American Rescue Plan allocates $306 million from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to Wisconsin for low-income renters experiencing hardship.
  • Wisconsin will receive over $210 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to help families with energy costs.
  • The American Rescue Plan has already distributed the first allocation in the homelessness reduction program, sending Wisconsin state and local governments a total of $90 million in grant funding that can be used to provide rental assistance, build affordable housing, develop non-congregate sheltering, and provide support services.


Location Allocation
Eau Claire $    1,140,076
Green Bay $    1,948,216
Kenosha $    1,963,911
La Crosse $    1,097,432
Madison $    5,076,197
Milwaukee $  20,309,464
Racine $    2,080,178
Dane County $    2,255,364
WI Non Entitlement $  41,859,563
CNSRT-Milwaukee County $    4,499,862
CNSRT-Waukesha County $    5,293,334
CNSRT-Janesville $    2,442,156
WI Total $  89,965,753

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About Opportunity Wisconsin
Opportunity Wisconsin is a coalition of Wisconsin residents fighting for an economy that works for working people. Through our stories, we’re elevating the real consequences of the destructive economic policies that put the wealthy few first and leave the rest of us behind. Together, we’re demanding our elected officials focus more on growing the economy for middle class folks and expanding opportunity for all Wisconsinites.

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