(WFRV) – Gov. Tony Evers announced that the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERA) will start to include coverage of internet costs for certain households.

According to officials, the state program has already provided over $38 million to almost 11,000 households.

“The past year and a half has underscored the fact that access to affordable high-speed internet is a necessity to how we live, learn, and work,” says Gov. Evers.

Eligible applicants are Wisconsin residents that meet the following criteria:

  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • A household income at or below 80 percent of county median income.

“Internet connectivity is a vital service that allows renters to engage in distance learning, telework, telemedicine, and obtain essential government services,” said Public Service Commission Chairperson Rebecca Valcq.

Wisconsin reportedly received over $322 million in the first round of Emergency Rental Assistance Funds.