Frequently Asked Questions for WERA

1. What assistance can WERA provide?

Eligible forms of assistance include the following:

  • Up to 12 months of rental arrearages and/or rental assistance, plus an additional 3 months if the extra months are determined to be needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available.
    - Once a household’s rental arrears are reduced, assistance is only provided for up to three months at a time.
    - Recertification of household’s income eligibility is necessary after three months.
    - Only arrears starting March 13, 2020 are eligible.
  • Utility and housing energy payments and arrearages including electricity and gas.
    - Telecommunication services (telephone, cable, Internet) are not considered to be utilities.
    - Utilities covered by the landlord within rent will be treated as rent.
  • Provision of, or referral for, housing stability services.

2. What if I have received rental assistance elsewhere?

  • If a household receives rental assistance other than WERA, then WERA may only be used for tenant’s portions of costs (rent, utilities) that were not already covered by the other assistance.
  • An eligible household that occupies a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive WERA assistance, provided that WERA funds are only applied to costs that have not been reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
  • If a household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, Project-Based Rental Assistance, or Tenant-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant’s rent is adjusted according to changes in household income, the household may receive WERA assistance for their personal portion of the rental agreement.

3. Who qualifies for the WERA program?

At least one or more individuals in the household meets the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a significant reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced financial hardship during the period of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
  • Has a household income at or below 80 percent of their county’s median income.

4. What documentation from the landlord will I need?

The landlord must sign (along with renter) the Renter Verification form.  This document provides a way for the landlord/rental agent to verify the terms of tenancy of the applicant. This document can be used in the place of a written lease if completed and signed by the landlord/rental agent.  In addition, the Landlord must register themselves as a vendor in the HE+ system to receive payment.  Check with your local agency to see if the Landlord is already a registered vendor.

5. What documents will I need to provide?

  • The household must provide documentation showing their income was impacted by COVID-19;
  • Documentation that income for the 1-month period from application date does not exceed 80% of the County Median Income (CMI) OR 2020 IRS Tax Documentation;
  • A current lease, agreement, or proof (such as check payments) listing the applicant resides in Wisconsin.

6. If someone applies for rental assistance through a Community Action Agency, while the application is being processed are landlords able to take eviction action?

If the landlord intends to evict, no legal basis exists under the application process to stay an eviction order. On a condition of receiving WERA payments, Landlords would agree not to initiate eviction orders during the period of assistance.

7. Will any services be offered to displaced families that may require additional cost?

Wrap-around services including financial counseling, budgeting assistance, tenant rights counseling and additional referrals may be provided by CAAs.

8. What is the turnaround time for program approval and disbursement of checks?

From the time an application is completed payment will be generated within 10 days or less.

9. Are in-person meetings required? Are virtual meetings allowed?

Applications may be taken by phone or email and virtual meetings are allowed.

10. Are mortgage payments eligible?

No mortgage payments are not an eligible expense. We urge all landlords to work directly with their tenants.

11. Does my unemployment count as income?

Yes.