Council members to join ministers, legal experts and renters to urge funding remedy amid COVID housing crisis

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson and Common Council colleagues will join local ministers, legal experts and renters during a news conference TODAY – Monday, February 8th — at City Hall to call for emergency action to address a COVID-19 pandemic-fueled housing crisis that is ripping through city neighborhoods.

During the news conference today at 1:30 p.m. in the first floor City Hall rotunda (200 E. Wells St.), President Johnson is expected to be joined by Souls to the Polls Ministers Rev. Greg Lewis and Pastor Mose Fuller, as well as Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa and Alderman Mark A. Borkowski, and Colleen Foley, Executive Director of Legal Aid Society and Katherine MacDonald, a Physical Therapy Assistant student from Milwaukee Area Technical College who is struggling with housing costs.

Masks will be required and social distancing will be adhered to during the news conference.

Souls to the Polls and community partners are calling on the Common Council to vote to accept $17 million from the federal government for rent assistance to help struggling community members. The file to accept the funding will be heard by the full Council when it meets at 9 a.m. tomorrow — Tuesday, February 9. If approved by the Council, the money will be distributed through local housing organizations.

President Johnson said he believes the funding is critically needed by renters who face eviction and homeowners facing foreclosure because of the economic and employment disaster caused by the pandemic.

“The pandemic has devastated lives across Milwaukee — throttling the economy and costing thousands of people their financial stability,” President Johnson said. “This has caused too many families to lose their homes through eviction or foreclosures, and as the coldest weather of the season hits us, the number of people in need of rent assistance is skyrocketing.”

“This emergency situation demands action immediately,” he said.

Other Council members indicating support for the funding measure include Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Scott Spiker, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs and Alderman Nik Kovac.

The group is calling on the Congress to pass the President’s $1.9 trillion aid package that includes $28 billion for housing needs across the U.S. President Johnson said Republicans are trying to strip the housing aid from the Federal package. “The Federal Aid will affect America’s future, especially in cities like Milwaukee where people of color already face significant disparities in health, employment and housing. We call on our national leaders to pass a funding package that matches the full scope of this emergency, especially housing. If not, the results of the COVID pandemic will be devastating.”

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