MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced more than 48,000 households have received assistance from the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) program, surpassing $200 million in rent utility payments statewide.

Announced on Wednesday, the federally funded WERA program provides up to 18 months of financial assistance for current and overdue payments of rent and utilities, including water, electricity, gas, and internet.

“So many have faced rising costs over these past few years, and I’m proud of our work to support more than 48,000 households across our state to help families make ends meet, stay safe in their homes, and catch up on bills to keep the lights and heat on,” said Evers.

The program has been an instrumental tool in helping families maintain housing despite financial hardships related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“This program has been a lifeline for Wisconsin families when they’ve needed it most, and I look forward to continuing this important work to ensure Wisconsin families can keep up with rent and utility bills, especially as we head into the winter months,” added Evers.

The Wisconsin Governor first announced the WERA program back in February of 2021. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and is funded by the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“Anytime we can help a family stay safe in their homes, catch up on utility bills, or get some peace of mind, it’s a worthy accomplishment. Helping more than 48,000 households do the same is a milestone worth celebrating,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld.

Brown, Dane, Milwaukee, and Waukesha, as well as the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, operate their own emergency rental assistance programs.

“We are grateful for Gov. Evers’ commitment to help hardworking families when they needed it most and for our statewide network of partners in administering this program to help Wisconsin renters avoid eviction and retain safe, stable housing,” concluded Blumenfeld.

The WERA program is open to Wisconsin residents who demonstrate a risk of experiencing housing instability, who have seen their income impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who earn a household income at or below 80% of the county median income.

More information on the program can be found here.