How residents of Milwaukee County can get free legal help for evictions and foreclosures


If you are facing an eviction or foreclosure, Milwaukee County has a Qualified Resident Program that offers free legal assistance. (Photo in stock)

Deposits are expected to increase after the federal ban on evictions expires October 3.

To assist residents, Milwaukee County Supervisor David Crowley enacted the “Right to Council Milwaukee” on July 19. This pilot program provides free legal representation to anyone threatened with eviction or foreclosure.

Supervisor Ryan Clancy is the author of the legislation. United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee are the lead organizations in the program, which was launched on September 1.

We spoke to Colleen Foley, Executive Director of Milwaukee Legal Aid Society, to answer questions about the program.

What does the program do?

The Right to Counsel pilot program provides an attorney to help tenants identify and assess legal rights and obligations. They plan to help by connecting landlords and tenants with available funds, negotiating disputes, and accessing wrap-around services.

The aim is to reduce requests for evictions and significantly reduce the public costs associated with the response of courts, criminal justice and social services to evictions. Ultimately, the program ensures that the legal system operates fairly and equitably and that no one party dominates.

Is the program accessible to everyone?

No. The Right To Counsel Milwaukee Pilot Program is for residents of Milwaukee County who are 200% or below federal poverty guidelines. It would be $ 25,760 per year for one person and $ 53,000 for a family of four.

Who is responsible for the program?

United Way provides administrative leadership, including fundraising, communications and outreach, while the Legal Aid Society will provide legal advice, representation and community legal education. Legal Aid hired 10 new attorneys, two paralegals and two admissions specialists for the project and is developing a strong sub-contract for additional staff of attorneys from Legal Action of Wisconsin.

How can people facilitate this process for themselves?

1. You can call the hotline now live at (414) 892-7368 and you can use the website to get in touch with them.

2. Prepare the information in advance. Applicants will be asked to provide the following information during the application process:

  • Summit / eviction complaint
  • A copy of your lease if you have it.
  • Be prepared to discuss your monthly income and other financial information

Is there anything else people should know?

Keep in mind that a large majority of court hearings still take place virtually, so you’ll need to find access if you don’t have it. This is something that you will have using the program for.

Who can I call for financial or legal assistance if I am afraid of being deported?

  • Community Advocates Rent Helpline: 414-270-4646
  • Milwaukee Legal Aid Society: 414-727-5300
  • Milwaukee Mediator: 414-939-8800
  • Wisconsin Legal Action: 855-947-2529
  • Social Development Commission: 414-906-2700
  • Milwaukee Self-Employed Tenants Union: 414-410-9714
  • Southeastern Wisconsin Apartment Association: 414-276-7378

Other resources

UPDATE: The new deportation ban expires in October. Here’s what you need to know to keep a roof over your head.

8 ways troubled tenants can get the help they need to avoid eviction

Four main takeaways from “Making rent”, a conversation about eviction and tenant rights

In the NNS Newsroom: I need your help to put a face to the eviction crisis in our city

How to get rental assistance in Wisconsin

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Need more information? Text “MKE” to 73224 to contact a reporter.

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