Communications & Outreach Manager
Immediate Release: February 18, 2021
The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) welcomes the significant anti-poverty funding measures contained within the Governor’s 2021-2023 budget. These sensible investments in job training, childcare, affordable housing, broadband access and expansion, and grants to small business would help with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, fuel economic development, and make meaningful inroads in the fight against poverty across our state. As a network of 18 community action, rural housing, and migrant service agencies serving all counties of Wisconsin, we urge the Assembly and Senate to work in a bi-partisan manner as it debates the final state budget.
Our network has been working on the issues of homelessness and housing affordability in Wisconsin for more than 30 years. Therefore, we are particularly encouraged by Governor Evers’ proposed investments in housing and his observation that “we have to understand how lack of access to affordable housing affects kids in the classroom.” The Governor has proposed a series of measures that would make a powerful impact on the state’s ability to address homelessness and housing insecurity. His budget includes more than a doubling of the state housing tax credit program, the creation of a $50 million affordable workforce housing grant program, and a substantial increase in grants to operate housing and support services for the homeless across the state. Moreover, the Governor is recommending the creation of a pilot program that gives priority to homeless children and their families on the housing voucher waiting list. Such a step would slowly begin to correct the imbalance embedded in national homeless policy that has excluded most children and families who do not meet an overly narrow definition of homelessness.
Further, the budget offers to help meet multiple needs of low-income populations in our rural and urban communities alike through a meaningful commitment to childcare and early education, job training and skills enhancement programming, and the expansion of youth apprenticeship opportunities. WISCAP’s network provides a full range of these same services and we stand ready to partner with the state, the private sector and civil society as we collectively tackle poverty and emerge from the challenges wrought by the pandemic. This is the time to invest in programs that help ensure economic security. Taken as a whole, the Governor’s budget represents a practical road map in helping Wisconsin get there.
Finally, while it contains many critical interventions and supports, if enacted, the Governor’s budget alone would not eliminate poverty in our state. Toward that end, WISCAP continues to support successful interventions such as the recent Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP) and passage of the soon to be re-introduced Wisconsin Opportunity Act, comprehensive legislation designed to fight poverty in Wisconsin.
About WISCAP: The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) is the statewide association for Wisconsin’s sixteen (16) Community Action agencies and two single-purpose agencies with statewide focus. You can learn more about WISCAP at wiscap.org