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30 Great Rent Assistance Programs in Wisconsin

30 Great Rent Assistance Programs in Wisconsin

Do you live in Wisconsin and need help paying rent? You’ve come to the right place! Wisconsin has many resources, and we’ve dug into some great programs and consolidated them for you here. Keep reading for a description of statewide and local Wisconsin rent assistance programs.

Statewide Rent Assistance Programs

Wisconsinites are fortunate to have multiple statewide rent assistance programs. Not only does Wisconsin have nationwide programs such as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Salvation Army, but Wisconsin also offers assistance through their Department of Children and Families. Additionally, there’s a rent assistance program specifically for individuals living in rural Wisconsin! Keep reading for more information.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

ERAP is a nationwide program created in response to the financial impact of COVID-19. Each state distributes their ERAP funds in different ways and Wisconsin distributes their funds through two main avenues. Wisconsin Emergency Rent Assistance (WERA) is a state program that serves most of Wisconsin. Brown, Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Dane counties. The City of Madison and City of Milwaukee operate their own ERAP programs. See below for more information.

What does WERA cover?

WERA can cover past due rent and utility bills from as far back as March 2020. Additionally, WERA funds may cover future rent and utilities depending on the situation.

Who is eligible for WERA?

To be eligible you must:

  • Be a Wisconsin resident
  • Show a risk of homelessness or housing instability (past due rent/utility bills or eviction notice)
  • Be able to provide a signed lease
  • Have experienced unemployment, a decrease in income, or an increase in expenses since March 13th, 2020
  • Be at or below 80% Area Median Income
  • Have an ID

How do I apply?

If you live anywhere in Wisconsin besides Brown, Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Dane County or City of Madison and City of Milwaukee you can apply for WERA funds here. Please note, you will need to complete a WHEAP (Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program) application and a WERA pre-screening application. All the details can be found online.

If you live in Brown, Waukesha, Milwaukee, or Dane County or City of Madison and City of Milwaukee, please see the links below to apply.

Community Action Partnership (CAP)

CAP is a network of service agencies throughout the state of Wisconsin. Please note, some of these agencies are distributing WERA funds (see above) but will likely continue to offer assistance even after those funds are depleted. Additionally, each CAP agency offers different services, many offering emergency financial assistance, so please confirm with the agency that serves you. To find the agency that serves you, please see this map or click on one of the links below.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army offers many services nationwide and Wisconsin has Salvation Army agencies throughout the state. The Salvation Army may offer emergency rent assistance, but please confirm with the agency that serves your area since each agency offers different programs. The agencies listed below are organized by the city/county their office is in, however each agency serves the surrounding area. Additionally, please see this list of Salvation Army extension services (services offered in cities without a physical location) for more resources.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SDvP)

SDvP is a catholic social service agency that often operates out of a church. SDvP may be able to provide financial assistance for rent. Each SDvP operates differently, but most serve their parish and the parish area. For more information, please see the website for the SDvP location nearest you.

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families provides emergency assistance to families through “Wisconsin Works (W-2)” agencies throughout the state. To qualify, you must have at least one child in the home and be facing an emergency such as eviction. Please note, assistance (if granted) is limited to one time per 12 months. Please see this map to find the agency closest to you. Additionally, please see this link for a list of items you must have when you apply.

Wisconsin Veterans Network

Wisconsin Veterans Network may be able to provide rental assistance to veterans. Their website lists homeless prevention services for veterans facing eviction. Please see their website for more information and to apply.  

Wisconsin Rural Housing

Wisconsin Rural Housing may provide rental assistance for individuals/families who are behind on rent or facing eviction. To qualify, applicants must be below 50% County Median Income and be able to afford their housing after the one time assistance. Please note, Wisconsin Rural Housing serves all Wisconsin counties except Dane, Racine, and Milwaukee counties.

Local Rent Assistance Programs

The bulk of rent assistance in Wisconsin is provided through statewide programs, however there are also multiple local programs available too. Many churches and organizations throughout the state of Wisconsin offer rent assistance programs. The programs are organized below by county for your convenience.  

Ashland County

The BRICK Ministries

The BRICK ministries’ Benevolence program may offer rental assistance to residents of Ashland and Bayfield counties. They only offer short-term aid and will work with applicants to explore other resources and create a plan. To make an appointment, please call 715-682-7425 or email benevolence.thebrick@centurytel.net.

Burnett County

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity offers rent assistance to residents of their service area (Washburn, Burnett, Polk, and Rusk counties) who have experienced a financial loss due to COVID-19. If granted, the rent assistance can pay for up to $1,000 past due rent. To apply, please complete this application and mail it to the address listed.  

Brown County

De Pere Christian Outreach (De Pere)

De Pere Christian Outreach serves residents of the 54115 zip code with services such as emergency assistance. To apply, please complete this online form.

Calumet County

Leaven (Neenah and Menasha)

Leaven’s Basic Needs Program provides emergency financial assistance to residents of Outagamie, Calumet, and northern Winnebago counties. Please complete this form to apply.

Columbia County

Renewal Unlimited

Renewal Unlimited offers many services to residents of Columbia County and surrounding areas. Their Homeless Prevention Program may offer rental assistance to families who fall below 50% County Median Income. For more information, please visit their website or call 608-742-5329.

Chippewa County

Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (ECAHMAA)

ECAHMAA offers many services to residents of Chippewa Valley, including emergency rent assistance. Please note, they only serve families. To qualify, your family’s income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline and you must have an eviction notice. Keep in mind, they will only assist families who have not received any other assistance in the past 12 months. For more information, please visit their website or call 715-832-8420.

Dane County

Sunshine Place (Sun Prairie)

Sunshine Place’s Rays of Hope program may provide emergency rental assistance to residents of Sun Prairie facing eviction. To qualify, you must be below 200% of the federal poverty level and have a plan in place to make future rent payments. Please note, assistance is only available once every 12 months. To apply, you can call 608-825-3225 or 608-640-7411 for Spanish speakers.  

Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) (Middleton)

MOM offers a Housing Stability program that may provide financial assistance for rent. All applicants must work with a case manager to identify the needs and create goals. To make an appointment, please call 608-836-7338 or email clients@momhelps.org.

Porchlight

Porchlight aims to prevent homelessness by providing emergency assistance to individuals and families. For rent assistance, please call 608-252-8522 on Tuesdays between 8:30am-9am.

Cambridge Area Resource Team (CART) (Cambridge)

CART offers basic needs assistance to families of the Cambridge school district. Their website mentions financial assistance for rent, but limited information is available. For more information, please email cartforhelp@gmail.com or call 608-423-1423.

Dodge County

Trinity United Methodist Church (Lomira)

Trinity United Methodist Church’s “compassionate fund” provides assistance to residents of Lomira who have a need. Rental assistance is mentioned as a need they can meet if the funds are available. For more information, please call the Chairman of the Lomira Compassionate Fund at 970-979-3041.

Fond du Lac County

Solutions Center

Solutions Center may provide assistance to residents of Fond du Lac County who are facing eviction. Please note, you can only receive assistance once every 12 months. To make an appointment, please call 920-923-1743.

Marathon County

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities operates a program called Project Step Up that provides financial assistance to families willing to join a year-long financial stability program. To qualify, you must be a resident of Marathon County, have a dependent child living at home, employed or attending school, and be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. For more information, please visit their website or call 608-782-0710.

Monroe County

Families First

Families First of Monroe County offers an Eviction Prevention program that may provide emergency assistance to families facing eviction. All applicants must be pre-screened before scheduling an appointment for assistance. For more information, please call 608-374-4141 (Office hours are Monday-Thursday 8am-3pm) or email info@familiesfirstofmonroecounty.org.

Kenosha County

The Sharing Center (Western Kenosha)

The Sharing Center is a food pantry that also offers other resources including rental assistance. To apply, please visit the food pantry between 11am-1pm Monday and Wednesday and 9am-11am on Friday. Please note, you must bring your ID. Information about qualifications is limited online, so please call to clarify before you visit. Their number is 262-298-5535.

Oneida County

St. Matthias Episcopal Church (Minocqua)

St. Matthias’s Caritas (Latin for Charity) program may offer financial assistance that can be used for rent. Every situation is evaluated, and assistance is approved on a case by case basis. For more information and to schedule an interview for assistance, please call 715-356-9989.

Outagamie County

Leaven (Neenah and Menasha)

Leaven’s Basic Needs Programs provides emergency financial assistance to residents Outagamie, Calumet, and northern Winnebago counties. Please complete this form to apply.

Pierce County

Assistance and Resource Center (ARC) (River Falls and Ellsworth)

ARC serves residents of River Falls and Ellsworth with short term financial assistance that can be used for rent. To apply, please call 715-338-0755. Calls will be answered from 10am-12pm on weekdays. If you call outside of those hours, please leave a message and they will return your call.  

Polk County

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity offers rent assistance to residents of their service area (Washburn, Burnett, Polk, and Rusk counties) who have experienced a financial loss due to COVID-19. If granted, the rent assistance can pay for up to $1,000 past due rent. To apply, please complete this application and mail it to the address listed.  

Rock County

ECHO

ECHO is a nonprofit that offers mutiple services to residents of Rock County, including emergency rental assistance. ECHO may be able to provide one month’s rent if applicants can prove they are able to afford their rent after the assistance. To apply you can call 608-754-5333 or complete an application online. Please see this list of required documents you must have to apply.

Edgerton Community Outreach (ECO) (Edgerton)

ECO offers an emergency assistance program to residents of Edgerton. Please note, their website is not clear whether their emergency assistance program covers rent, so please call to clarify. For more information and to make an appointment to apply, please call 608-884-9593.

Rusk County

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity offers rental assistance to residents of their service area (Washburn, Burnett, Polk, and Rusk counties) who have experienced a financial loss due to COVID-19. If granted, the rent assistance can pay for up to $1,000 past due rent. To apply, please complete this application and mail it to the address listed.  

Walworth County

Bethel House (Whitewater)

Bethel House may provide emergency financial assistance for rent to families facing eviction. Please note, they can only provide assistance once every year. For more information and to apply, please call 262-473-2715 or 262-729-1123 for Spanish.  

St. Peters Catholic Church (East Troy)

St. Peter’s Catholic Church offers rental assistance to residents of the East Troy Community School District. To apply for assistance, you can leave a message on their Helping Hands line (262-642-7225) or complete the contact form online.

Hope Now Inc. (Elkhorn)

Hope Now Inc aims to help residents of Elkhorn avoid emergencies by providing stop-gap financial assistance. Not much is mentioned on their Facebook page, but rent assistance is listed. For more information, please call 262-723-4711.

Washburn County

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity

Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity offers rent assistance to residents of their service area (Washburn, Burnett, Polk, and Rusk counties) who have experienced a financial loss due to COVID-19. If granted, the rent assistance can pay for up to $1,000 past due rent. To apply, please complete this application and mail it to the address listed.  

Waukesha County

Sussex Area Outreach Services (Sussex)

Sussex Area Outreach Services offers many services to residents of the Sussex area. Information online is limited, but emergency support is listed as a service provided. For more information and to apply, please call 262-347-3563.

Winnebago County

Leaven (Neenah and Menasha)

Leaven’s Basic Needs Programs provides emergency financial assistance to residents Outagamie, Calumet, and northern Winnebago counties. Please complete this form to apply.

Additional Resources

Residents of Wisconsin can access multiple statewide rent assistance programs in addition to the many local programs offered throughout the state. However, do not forget that there are many national rent assistance programs available too! Check out our list of national rent assistance programs here!

Marie McCollum has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Georgia. She is currently the Director of Programs for a non-profit in Decatur, Georgia.