The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) Program was created as a response to the loss of income for many rental households during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding for the WERA Program is from two separate programs: ERA1 is funded by the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted on December 27, 2020, set aside $25 billion in funding nationwide, and ERA2 is funded by the American Rescue Plan of 2021, enacted March 11, 2021, which set aside $21.55 billion. Of that total, approximately $387 million of ERA1 and $306 million of ERA2 were appropriated to the State of Wisconsin. A portion of these funds will be distributed to Brown County, Dane County, Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, City of Madison, and the City of Milwaukee. The approximate State of Wisconsin share of the Coronavirus Relief funds are $322 million for ERA1 and $255 million for ERA2 and these funds have been set aside for WERA.
Eligible forms of assistance include the following:
- Up to twelve months (12) months of rental arrearages and/or rental assistance, plus and an additional three (3) months, if determined the extra months of assistance are needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available. Payments can be made for a maximum of eighteen (18) months of assistance with combined ERA1 and ERA2 funding.
- Payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in the eviction of an eligible household is prioritized for the current stability of the tenants may include applicable fees such as, but not limited to late fees, pet fees, on-site storage fees, and parking fees.
- Utility and housing energy payments and arrearages including electricity, water, internet, gas, and bulk fuel.
- Other expenses related to housing.
- Late fees.
- Lot rent arrearages and lot rent assistance.
- Security deposits.
- Moving expenses.
- Cost of a transitional stay in a hotel or motel.
A household may qualify for the WERA program if at least one or more household individuals meet the following:
- The applicant has attained the age of 18.
- The applicant is a Wisconsin resident or holds a signed or pending lease agreement in the State of Wisconsin.
- At least one or more individuals in the household meet the following criteria
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction of household income, experienced major costs, or experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- demonstrates a risk of being evicted, experiencing homelessness, or housing instability;
- the household has an income at or below 80% of the area median income.
Manuals & Forms
Vendor Landlord Agreement (2/12/2021)
County Median Income Values (5/31/2022)
Use Slipstream to access additional manuals and forms: https://homeenergyplus.slipstreaminc.org/user/login?destination=wera
WERA Program Manager - Jill Woodington
Department of Administration
Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources
P.O. Box 7970
Madison, WI 53707-7970