Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year has been a whirlwind of struggles and emotions - and resiliency.
In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, an economic stimulus bill, in response to the pandemic. Each state was allotted funding to provide assistance to its residents, businesses, organizations, health care facilities, and local governments to receive the financial support they need to address the challenges of the times. I want to encourage citizens of the 73rd Assembly District to utilize any of the programs that may be beneficial to them.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC) “We’re All In” Small Business Grants provide financial support to small businesses across Wisconsin that have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, $75 million was distributed to 30,000 small businesses. Now, an additional $50 million has been made available for a second round of grants. To learn more about this program and other information related to the pandemic visit here.
The Department of Tourism is providing numerous grants through the COVID-19 Community and Economic Stabilization Grant Programs. These programs provide financial support to a variety of valuable businesses across the state. It was recently announced that $10 million has been made available for the Movie Theater Grant Program, $10 million for the Out-of-School Support Grant Program which will assist organizations that have been providing care to school-aged children throughout the pandemic, $15 million for the Live Music and Entertainment Venue Grant Program, and $20 million for the Lodging Property Grant Program. For more information on these grants, visit here.
Wisconsin’s Department of Administration (DOA) and the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association have teamed up to administer the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP). $35 million has been allocated to provide assistance to eligible individuals who have experienced a loss of income and are struggling to keep up with rent payments. For residents of Burnett and Washburn Counties, you should contact the Indianhead CAA at 715-532-4222. Douglas County citizens should contact the Northwest CSA at 715-392-5127. These agencies also have programs to help families with food, utilities, health care, and family support. For more information, visit here.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits currently available through the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Unemployed individuals may be eligible to receive these benefits if they are not eligible for regular UI benefits. For more information, visit here.
In addition to the many COVID-19 relief programs funded by the CARES Act, heating, electric, and weatherization assistance is available through the DOA’s Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) and Wisconsin's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). These services are available every year, however, DOA has adjusted the eligibility requirements this year as a result of the pandemic. For more information on how to access this assistance, visit here.
Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services maintains the most up-to-date information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. You can access the information here.
Much of the CARES Act funds have gone towards emergency response and public health initiatives that provide money for things such as distributing personal protective equipment, contact tracing, and having necessary testing supplies. In addition, over $821 million has been allocated to economic support and recovery initiatives.
According to the Office of the Governor, all federal CRF dollars need to be expended by the end of the year. Thus far, Wisconsin has dispersed $476 million, obligated $479 million, and has committed but not yet distributed over $919 million in additional funds. Approximately $120 million is still unallocated so Wisconsin can use it to address needs as they arise throughout the remainder of the year.
The legislative fiscal bureau has prepared a report detailing the disbursement of all monies thus far through the CARES Act. You can find the report at this link.
If you have questions about any of the above programs, feel free to contact my office at Rep.Milroy@legis.wisconsin.gov or 608-266-0640.