Advocacy & Policy

New reports show more Wisconsin households are more economically insecure following the COVID-19 pandemic. One such report released by the United Way suggests 34% of all Wisconsin Households income is too low to afford basic essentials such as housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care, access to technology and taxes (ALICE, 2023).

The Wisconsin Opportunity Act is a long overdue comprehensive approach to make Wisconsin a better place to live for everyone. WISCAP’s member Community Action Agencies distributed over $725 million in pandemic aid to Wisconsin households and we saw firsthand how effective certain strategies were at reducing economic insecurity, hunger and childhood poverty.

The Wisconsin Opportunity Act is a summary of things that had huge impact on people and high return on investment for Wisconsin taxpayers.

For the first time in decades, pandemic relief programs helped temporarily reduce rates of poverty by 64% in 2020 and 67% in 2021 (CBPP, 2023). This was the greatest decline in economic insecurity since the federal Economic Opportunity Act was enacted in 1964. Further declines in childhood poverty were also observed, leading to an all-time low national childhood poverty rate of 5.2%.

Despite the profound evidence documenting the economic impact of programs such as the earned income tax credit, child tax credit and supplemental SNAP program, the Wisconsin Opportunity Act is the first significant bill to come out of the Wisconsin Legislature to continue these gains.

Economic stability impacts an entire community by making housing more affordable and insuring more people have access to living wage employment and benefits. Conversely people experiencing economic instability are more likely to have poor health, experience chronic health problems and face premature death. Often people with disabilities, injuries, or conditions like arthritis experience the most economic insecurity because their conditions limit their ability to earn a living wage and pay for basic necessities. (CDC and The Network for Public Health Law, Economic Stability)

Support the Wisconsin Opportunity Act!

The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) calls for passage of the Wisconsin Opportunity Act in the Wisconsin State Legislature and urges lawmakers and the public to attend an upcoming briefing on the bill. The proposal, authored by Senator Jeff Smith and Representative Lisa Subeck, advances comprehensive legislation designed to aid communities in the fight against poverty; calling for a renewed investment in housing, transportation, employment and business development training, and other services.

The bill is currently co-sponsored by 32 members and has been referred to the Assembly Committee on State Affairs and the Senate Committee on Housing, Rural Issues, and Forestry, respectively.

Community action agencies and their local partners throughout Wisconsin provide a wide range of programs and services that help individuals and families respond to crisis as well as achieve lasting economic security and self-sufficiency.

What’s in the Wisconsin Opportunity Act?

Advocacy Day 2024

Wisconsin State Capitol
2E Main St.  | Madison, WI   53703
Room 415NW 

Wisconsin Opportunity Act Supporters

  • Arts Wisconsin
  • CAP Services, Inc
  • Central Wisconsin Community Action Council
  • Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups
  • Couleecap, Inc.
  • Social Development Commission
  • Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP)
  • Stronger Together Fox Valley
  • Tenant Resource Center
  • UMOS, Inc.
  • West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency, Inc (West CAP)
  • Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council, Inc.
  • Wisconsin Apartment Association
  • Wisconsin Association of Mobility Managers
  • Wisconsin Business Alliance
  • Wisconsin Coalition Against Homelessness
  • Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP)
  • Wisconsin Coordinated Transportation Cooperative
  • Wisconsin Council of Churches
  • Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
  • Wisconsin Habitat for Humanity
  • Wisconsin Transportation Equity Alliance
  • Community Action, Inc.
  • Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin
  • Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups
  • Feeding Wisconsin
  • Forward Community Investments
  • Foundation for Rural Housing, Inc.
  • Friends of Recovery Inc.
  • Indianhead Community Action Agency
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 7
  • Lakeshore CAP, Inc. of Wisconsin
  • Newcap, Inc.
  • North Central Community Action Program, Inc.
  • Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency
  • Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency, Inc.
  • Social Development Commission
  • Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP)
  • Stronger Together Fox Valley


Additional organizations that have registered support of the legislation through the Wisconsin Ethics Commission:

  • End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin; The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • City of Milwaukee
  • National Association of Social Workers Wisconsin Chapter