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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

As we navigate through the COVID-19 public health emergency, I will continue to provide updates and resources as they become available.* Please check the 'Tip of the Month' section below for an important update on getting information from me. Also, because of the pace that things can change, please continue to check my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for real-time updates. 

When the Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home order, it left communities across our state confused and nervous about what it would mean for their families. I want to take a moment to update you on where Wisconsin is at with addressing the public health emergency. 

In addition, the 
Evers administration has recently announced a number of new programs to help Wisconsinites during this time, using federal CARES Act dollars. Below you will find more information. 

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions.


Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator


*This information is up-to-date as of 12 p.m. June 3. Please note that this situation is always changing, so please utilize the resources provided below and check them periodically for the most current information. I will also post updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

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Stay Up-to-date on COVID-19 Information & Resources

State law says that legislators who are up for re-election are prohibited from distributing more than 49 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. This rule went into effect on April 15.

Recent legislation waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current public health emergency, but only until June 10. Therefore, soon I will be unable to distribute any COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 related news for the time being. In addition to following me on social media for updates on state and community news, my website now includes a special link just for COVID-19 updates. This will include information on any new state assistance programs. I am committed to ensuring you continue to have access to what you need during this global crisis. 


Click here to view my COVID-19 resources webpage.

COVID-19 Community Update

 

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First things first, with no statewide reopening plan due to the Supreme Court ruling and lack of Republican leadership, it is up to local governments and us as community members to do our best to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The City of Milwaukee still has a local order in place, with different guidelines to reflect a phased reopening. At the time of this writing, Milwaukee is in Phase 2 of reopening. You can find specific details about this phase, here.

Click here for more information about how the phases are determined, and check here for updates about the Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely plan.  

The public health emergency has created not only concerns for the safety and health--both mentally and physically--of our loved ones, but has also thrown many Wisconsinites into further economic uncertainty. The response from Republicans at both the federal and state level has been minimal and as a result, many people in our community are facing hardships and in some cases are unable to pay for basic necessities. 

I am continuing to advocate for policies at the state level to support workers and families during this pandemic and my office is in frequent communication with the Department of Workforce Development to get people information and answers about the status of the backlog in unemployment cases. Governor Evers and his administration have announced a series of programs over the course of the last few weeks to help community members. In addition, a number of local resources are available to residents. Below are some of these programs and information on how to access them.

 

Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program 

The eviction moratorium has ended, but if you receive a federal rent subsidy or your landlord has a federally backed mortgage loan, you may have eviction protection through July under the federal CARES Act. Call Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee at (414) 727-5300 to find out if you or your property is covered.

Also, the new Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP) can award up to $3,000 per household in a combination of rental payments and/or security deposits. The payment is paid directly to the landlord.

In general, eligible applicants must be an adult Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or prior to the application date. Applications will be available on or before June first. Milwaukee residents should contact the Social Development Commission using the instruction below in order to get more information to apply: 

  1. Complete the electronic form using this link. Be sure to complete the requested information including your best contact number and county where you live.
  2. Look for SDC to begin making calls to interested applicants during the week of June 8th.
  3. Please check the website regularly for updates.

You can also call the SDC for information about eligibility and how to apply at 414-326-2888.

 

Gov. Evers’ $75 million 'We’re All In' Initiative for Small Businesses 
The Evers administration has been rolling out grant programs for small businesses in the last few weeks. Grant recipients will become 'We’re All In' businesses by committing to safety protocols and using them in their shops, cafes and places of work to protect their customers, employees, and communities.

Small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees impacted by COVID-19 that have not already received WEDC COVID-19 assistance may apply for grants in the amount of $2,500. Up to thirty thousand businesses may receive grants. The application for this grant will be available here between June 15 and June 22. Check the website before the application period opens for a list of documents you will want to have prepared ahead of time! 

As a reminder, a series of guides for businesses looking to implement best practices to keep employees, customers, and communities safe throughout the COVID-19 crisis. These guides are an essential part of the We’re All In program and were developed in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Department of Safety and Professional Services, as well as industry leaders and public health experts throughout the state. They are found on WEDC’s website.

 

African American Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Recovery Fund
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation donated $100,000 to the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin to establish a COVID-19 Recovery Fund. This fund will provide recovery grants of up to $2,000 for small businesses in the community impacted by the pandemic. The goal is to provide support to African American owned for-profit small businesses and sole proprietorships in food and beverage services, personal care services, and retail trades. The Chamber is working to raise an additional $100,000 for the fund to help even more businesses in the community. Click here for more information.

 

Child Care Provider Assistance 
Due to declining enrollment and safety concerns, an estimated 40% of child care providers statewide have made the difficult decision to temporarily close, but continue to incur expenses such as unemployment insurance and rent. Without additional investment, many child care providers are likely to close permanently, dramatically exacerbating gaps in access to quality, affordable care and hindering the state’s economic recovery as parents return to work. 

Child care providers are vital contributors to fully reopening Wisconsin’s economy. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is supporting the growing demand for child care access for essential workforce families by assisting in the launch of a number of payment programs to support child care providers. There are two remaining application periods for the three available grant programs. Click here for more information.

Application Period 1 - May 18 - May 29, 2020 (ended)
Application Period 2 - June 8 - June 19, 2020
Application Period 3 - June 29 - July 10, 2020

  • Payment Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
    This program is to support the costs of providing care for essential workforce families. Funds are to be used for paying staff, reimbursing families, or other allowable expenses.
  • Payment Program 2: Incentive Pay
    This program is to support the costs for providing incentive pay for child care providers and individual educators. Funds are required to be used to increase pay during the State of Emergency for current employees, providers, and individual educators.
  • Payment Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs
    This program is to support the costs of retaining staff and reopening child care programs as Wisconsin’s workforce returns to work. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding. Funds are required to be used for paying staff, reimbursing families, or other allowable expenses.

 

Milwaukee COVID-19 Testing Locations

New National Guard Northside testing location and adjusted hours as of June 1, 2020:

Custer Stadium, across the street from Barack Obama School4300 W Fairmount Avenue
Mon - Thurs: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed


UMOS2710 South Chase Avenue
Mon - Thurs: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

**No Appointment Necessary at National Guard walk-in sites**

Nine Other Area Testing Locations:

Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. 
2555 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and 
8200 W. Silver Spring Drive, (414) 372-8080

Outreach Community Health Centers
210 W. Capitol Drive, (414) 727-6320

Progressive Community Health Centers
3522 W. Lisbon Ave., (414) 882-2040

Ascension St. Joseph
5000 W. Chambers Street, (833) 981-0711

Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Family Health Center 
1121 W. North Ave., (833) 981-0711

Ascension All Saints Family Health Center 
2400 W. Villard Ave., (833) 981-0711

Aurora Health Center Midtown 
5818 W. Capitol Drive, (877) 819-5034

Froedtert North Hills Health Center 
W129 N7055 Northfield Dr., Menomonee Falls, (414) 805-2000

**Before going to one of these testing sites, call your doctor or 211 to make an appointment for a test. There are no insurance, income, or immigration restrictions. All are welcome.**


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Resources Round-Up

 

I know this is a scary time for many people. Worries about our health and the safety of our loved ones, the ability to pay bills, and taking care of children or parents and grandparents are very real concerns that are being experienced in our community right now. Finding resources and support can be difficult. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have questions or need help. You can also call 2-1-1 or visit their website, here, for information and assistance, as there are many local organizations that are stepping up to help our neighbors during this public health emergency. Below you will find additional information and resources. 

 

Community Resources Guide
Milwaukee County has created a Community Resources Guide that includes up-to-date listings of local COVID-19 resources. The guide includes a broad list of housing, food, health and medical care resources as well as resources for adults over 60 and Milwaukee County residents with disabilities. This information will be continuously added and updated, so be sure to check it often.

Support for Caregivers 
I was a caregiver for my grandparents, so I can only imagine how difficult the added challenge our current times are for families. You are not alone. Reach out for support when you need it. This recent Milwaukee News Service article provides resources available for caregivers in our community.
 

Information for Older Adults (60+)
One of the programs that continues to be available to older adults is the Wisconsin Elder Benefit Specialist program. Milwaukee County community members aged 60 and older can receive advocacy and legal assistance with a wide range of public benefit programs including Medicare and Medicaid, landlord-tenant issues, and unemployment insurance appeals. With the rapidly changing situation due to COVID-19, this advice and advocacy is more important than ever. To contact the Elder Benefit Specialist for Milwaukee County, dial: 414-278-1222. More information about the services provided can be found here. 

 

Information for Survivors of Abuse
I understand that home may not always be a safe space for some members in our community and that right now is an especially difficult time for survivors of domestic violence. I am grateful to all of the advocates around the state who are working tirelessly to offer support and make sure people are safe. Those who are looking to make a safety plan or someone to talk to can find an advocate by visiting www.endabusewi.org/get-help.
 

Here are other places to find trusted resources and information:

  • Click here for Governor Evers' webpage that includes resources from across state agencies, including information about filing for unemployment benefits, resources for small businesses, information about telehealth services, and more.  

  • Click here for Congresswoman Gwen Moore's list of resources, which includes how to cover basic necessities like food, child care resources for health care workers, and more. 

  • Click here for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's list of resources, which includes information about direct cash payments approved by the federal government (CARES Act), resources for small businesses, resources for veterans, and more. 

Click here for Milwaukee County's COVID-19 webpage.

Click here for the City of Milwaukee's COVID-19 website.

I hope you find the above resources helpful. However, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov.  
 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee County Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!