Program to help renters pay rent amid COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

Covid-19 has hit the state’s workforce hard.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for May at 12%.

For some, that means bills are piling up, including rent.

“Not a week goes by that we haven’t received a phone call from someone who is behind on their rent,” said Western Dairyland Communications Coordinator Dale Karls.

Western Dairyland in Eau Claire is busier than usual, Karls says rental assistance is a common need, but now, there’s a new factor.

“This has all just been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karls. “Now we’re easily getting dozens of phone calls per day from people who have lost income or lost their jobs due to the pandemic and now they’re in danger of eviction.”

Western Dairyland is offering a helping hand with the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program or WRAP.

“The benefit is based on the size of the household, how far behind on rent you are, there is a lot of moving parts in the equation,” Karls said.

The federally-funded program offers households with lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic up to $3,000 in rental assistance, which is sent directly to the landlord.

Western Dairyland says WRAP is available for people living in Eau Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties.

While it is a temporary fix for the situation, Karls says if you need help, act quickly.

“We are encouraging people to sign up for this program as soon as possible because when the funds are gone, this program will go away,” said Karls. “We anticipate the whole program will be around for just a few months.”

For a full list of agencies by county and contact information, click here.

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