NEWCAP to Begin Operation of Tenant-Based Rental Assistance in Rural Brown County

NEWCAP, Inc. has announced that it has been given authority from the State’s Division of Housing to provide short-term housing to homeless families and individuals in Brown County (excluding the City of Green Bay).

According to Debbie Bushman, NEWCAP’s Housing Director, the program, called Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), is currently serving people in nine other northeast Wisconsin counties and will now be able to address a definite need in Brown County, as well.

Individuals in the TBRA program can receive up to twelve (12) months of rental assistance after committing to working on a program of self-sufficiency. Each participant will be assigned a NEWCAP Case Manager who will work out a mutually acceptable plan to reach designed goals.

To be eligible for the program, the person – or family – has to be: (1) literally homeless at the time of application; (2) at imminent risk of being homeless; or (3) currently residing in a homeless shelter. Preference is given to applicants who have a disability, with those suffering from mental illness topping the eligibility preference list.

The intake process involves rating applicants, based on a certain critical hierarchy of need called the Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, or VI-SPDAT. Those scoring the highest on this intake application receive preference for program services.

According to NEWCAP’s CEO, Robert Koller, the TBRA program “… is another effective tool in helping homeless people move from a status of helplessness to one of hope.”

Individuals interested in applying or in getting more information should contact NEWCAP at 1.800.242.7334 and ask for information and help with emergency housing.

Tanya Beyer Earns RN Degree with Help from WestCAP

Sometimes, stopping to read what’s on a bulletin board can make a real difference in your life.

That’s what happened to Elmwood native Tanya Beyer in January of 2010. “I was taking classes at Chippewa Valley Technical School in River Falls when I noticed a WestCAP (West Central Community Action Agency) flyer on the bulletin board in the hall,” she said.

Beyer had earned her Medical Assistant Degree from Minneapolis Business College following graduation from Elmwood High School and at the time was working toward her Associate Degree in Nursing.

After reading the flyer, Tanya contacted WestCAP and asked if they could help her. They could, and with their encouragement, Tanya enrolled in West CAP’s Skills Enhancement Program which provides case management and financial assistance to individuals at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

“They helped me with mileage costs for attending school as well as daycare expenses. They paid the daycare directly. It really helped me out,” she explained adding, “I already had financial aid. If I hadn’t, I could have gotten help from WestCAP for those expenses as well.”

Tanya was working as a Medical Assistant for Hudson Physicians when her husband, Twain was injured on the job. “He hurt his back at work in 2008. At first Workman’s Compensation denied his claim, so we were way down in income. That was eventually resolved, but then his back surgery left permanent nerve damage leaving Twain unable to hold a full time job, so now he’s a stay-at-home dad,” said Tanya.

Obviously the loss of income caused an economic hardship for this family with two small children, Pride age 8 and Kalena age 6.

It was then that Tanya decided to go back to school to earn her Associate Degree in Nursing to increase her income. “I graduated in May, and now I work as a registered nurse in Hudson. I have basically the same responsibilities in my position as Assistant to Nursing Supervision, but I have gotten a pay raise because of my education,” said Tanya.

Currently she is enrolled in online courses at Capella University earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. “I’m so used to going to school now, that I just decided to keep going, so I enrolled in this program,” she said with a smile. “It will be a year and a half before I complete my degree, but if I were to ever leave Hudson Physicians, I’ll have this additional education.”

The chances of her leaving Hudson are pretty slim. “I just love my job. I’ve been there for 17 years. The people I work with are like my family,” she added.

Stephanie Stark, West CAP Literacy & Skills Enhancement Coordinator, said, “Tanya has worked very hard to accomplish her goals and help her family. It was a pleasure to have some part in helping her attain her goals.”

She then provided additional information on what WestCap has to offer. “The West CAP Skills Enhancement Program is designed to assist low-wage, working adults to access short-term training programs that will provide an opportunity to increase wages and gain access to employer provided health insurance.

Short-term training is defined as two years or less for a technical school program, or a condensed training program such as CNA or CDL training. It is not intended for individuals who are enrolled in a four-year degree program unless they hold at least a junior status and will graduate within two years.

Skills Enhancement participants may be eligible for assistance with tuition related expenses, training related transportation costs, and assistance with child care costs incurred while attending school. The Skills Enhancement Program is designed to be an on-going partnership with the client, not a source of one-time assistance.

Skills Enhancement Program participants can benefit by attending classes part time so that they can continue to work. They can also increase their earning potential and gain access to employer sponsored health insurance benefits, and increase their wages.

With her new job, Tanya has increased her wages and now is able to support her family. They no longer need financial assistance,” noted Stephanie.

If you would like additional information, you may contact Stephanie at 715-410-4735.

Congratulations to Tanya on her accomplishments and much appreciation to WestCAP for this valuable program.

Article thanks to

Couleecap: “There Is No Place Like Home”: Child Homelessness in Wisconsin

The words, “There is no place like home” from the Wizard of Oz, have never been truer than for a child who is homeless. Homeless youth, sometimes referred to as “unaccompanied” youth, are individuals under the age of 18 who lack parental, foster, or institutional care.   Here are some of the facts:

  • Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth runaway and/or are homeless in a year.
  • 5% to 7% of American youth become homeless in any given year.
  • Youth ages 12 to 17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults.
  • Homeless youth are evenly male-female, although females are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines.
  • Between 6 and 22% of homeless girls are estimated to be pregnant.
  • 46% of runaway and homeless youth reported being physically abused; 38% reported being emotionally abused; 1.7% reported being forced into unwanted sexual activity by a family or household member.
  • 75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school.
  • Between 20% and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

Please watch the following (under two minute) YouTube video for more information about child homelessness in Wisconsin.

WISCAP Testifies in Opposition to Assembly Bill Placing New Restrictions on FoodShare Program

Citing what it terms “major flaws” WISCAP voiced strong opposition to Assembly Bill 177, a bill that would place new restrictions on those utilizing the FoodShare program.

The proposed legislation would require that 67% of all food purchases be limited to foods the state deems nutritious. The bill lays out a list of eligible foodstuffs, which include foods “that are on the list of foods authorized for the federal special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC foods); beef; pork; chicken; fish; and fresh produce.”

In testimony before the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform, WISCAP noted its opposition to the legislation is based on a number of factors.
• The bill would “ignore the reality” that many communities in the state are “food deserts” where fresh produce and foods authorized by the legislation are in limited supply and more expensive.
• Among the ordinary and basic foods not approved in the bill and utilized often by families are pasta, soups, macaroni and cheese, nuts and creamed vegetables. In addition, many WIC approved foods are brand-specific and more costly.
• WISCAP also warned the committee that the bill would expand government’s hand in the marketplace limiting individual freedom of choice individual responsibility. Continue reading