Emergency Rental Assistance Program to begin providing help paying Internet bills

Internet Computer Credit Card
Courtesy: Storyblocks

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is announcing the state’s rental assistance program will now begin helping select families pay for their Internet connection.

“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,” Gov. Evers said in a statement announcing the move. “This additional resource coupled with our recent announcement of Broadband Access funding across the state should go a long way toward helping folks remain connected, make ends meet, and bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide the Internet bill assistance to those who meet certain criteria. In order to qualify, people must have:

  • One or more individuals in a household who have qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income or experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • One or more individuals in a household who can demonstrate a risk of housing instability or becoming homeless
  • A household income at or below 80% of the median monthly income in their county.

According to the state, 80% of the median monthly income in Dane County would be $4,663 for a single person, $5,329 for a two-person household and $5,996 for a four-person household. In Rock County, it’s $3,408 for a single person, $3,896 for two people and $4,867 for a household of four.

The assistance is being paid for out of the $322 million the state received from the first round of federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds during the pandemic. Wisconsin’s Department of Administration will handle applications and distribute the assistance.

Applications are open across the state, but people living in Madison and Dane County can apply directly with local rental assistance providers.