The MKE Civic Response Team Update provides news and information about our community’s strategic response to COVID-19 and coordinated efforts to change systems in greater Milwaukee for the better.
Civic Response Snapshots
The MKE Civic Response Team contributes to progress and informs strategy on relief and recovery efforts across a range of intersecting community priorities. Recent activities include:
Community resource navigators: Facilitating connections among partners, prospective work sites and potential applicants for a program made possible by federal CARES Act funding that will train, employ and deploy more than 100 individuals as community resource navigators. The MKE Civic Response Team is helping inform where navigators could have the greatest impact among community and neighborhood organizations, churches, shelters, isolation facilities and others as they perform such functions as distributing public health information, aiding in contact tracing, connecting residents with mental health resources, assisting in accessing benefits such as unemployment and more. Employ Milwaukee is hosting the process in partnership with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Community Development Grants Administration, and Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/Building Industry Group & Skilled Trades Employment Program - WRTP | BIG STEP. Applications are open for both job seekers and host site employers.
Focus on economic recovery: Identified initial strategies for supporting economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, building off the understanding that the physical, economic and social impact of COVID-19 has been felt most acutely among African American and Hispanic communities across Milwaukee, and that systemic racism and inequities have historically meant that economic downturns disproportionately affect these same communities. Priorities will include 1) Small business and economic corridor stability, 2) employment and workforce supports, 3) Stability of African American and Hispanic homeowners, 4) Financial stability and wealth-building, 5) Advocacy, systems and policy.
Rental housing resource center: Formed in early 2020 as a collaborative effort to connect tenants and landlords to trusted resources that improve housing stability and prevent eviction. In anticipation of increased housing insecurity due to the COVID-19 public health pandemic, efforts to form the rental housing resource center have accelerated. It will serve as a virtual and physical clearinghouse of information and connect people to resources such as rental assistance options, legal and mediation services, knowledge banks and more. The center’s co-partners include the Apartment Owners Association of Southeast Wisconsin, City of Milwaukee, Community Advocates, IMPACT, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Mediate Milwaukee and Milwaukee County; project support is being provided by the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA). This work is following recommendations made in the Wisconsin Policy Forum report “No Place Like Home” and originated in 2018 with a diverse set of stakeholders from the public, nonprofit and private sectors now known as the Rental Housing Stability Initiative.
Digital access: Building momentum and support for making universal household access to high speed internet and a compatible device a communitywide priority. Stakeholders point to potential benefits across all sectors, from ensuring access to virtual education platforms for summer learning and beyond, to increasing the ability of job seekers to find and apply for open positions, to helping those in need of food or housing assistance connect to resources, to facilitating commerce and ease of transactions for both small businesses and shoppers, to reducing overall anxiety and improving mental wellbeing through access to important news and information.