Tony Evers announces $25M COVID-19 rental assistance program

Tony Evers announces $25M COVID-19 rental assistance program

From the The pandemic hits home: Keep up with the latest La Crosse area news on COVID-19 series
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Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers 

Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday $75 million in funding for programs aimed at renters, farmers and those in need of food assistance, all part of the state’s use of federal funding to mitigate the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes a day after Evers announced how he would use $1 billion of the roughly $1.9 billion in federal funding allocated to the state for COVID-19.

It also came the same day the state announced the largest daily increase in COVID-19 cases, with 528 newly confirmed and 14 more related deaths. The state has reported 13,413 cases and 418 deaths.

One of the new programs will use $25 million in federal funding to assist renters.

To be eligible for the program, an applicant must be an adult Wisconsin resident who saw income loss related to COVID-19 with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or prior to the application date. Between 2014 and 2018, the median household income in Dane County was $70,541, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 80% of that being $56,433.

If approved, applicants would receive rental assistance of up to $3,000 in a combination of rental payments and/or security deposits.

The payments would be made directly to the landlord.

Wisconsin’s economy has been heavily impacted by business shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Agriculture initiative

Evers also announced a $50 million program to provide direct payments to Wisconsin farmers to support the state’s agricultural sector, and a $15 million food security initiative to combat hunger.

Eligible farmers can apply for aid through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and payments could begin arriving as early as June. A portion of the $15 million for food security will go toward helping food banks, pantries and other nonprofit organizations adapt to the COVID-19 era, helping them meet public health and social distancing guidelines, such as providing curb-side pickup, delivery and food purchasing from local restaurants.

The initiative will also help food banks, pantries and nonprofits purchase food from Wisconsin to distribute to state residents in need.

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