Food & Shelter Resources

Rent Assistance

The state of WI mandated grace on evictions due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic came to an end on Wednesday, May 27th; however, the state has received $25 million in federal aid for rent assistance. In Milwaukee, the Social Development Commission (SDC) will be administering the program and distributing the money to applicants.

Individuals can complete a form online (see below) or a contact La Toya Jones, Business Services Manager, SDC, email: ljones@cr-sdc.ord or phone: 414-906-2823 with questions, for assistance or to check the status of their application.

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WhyHunger

WhyHunger.org is the first comprehensive, open-source, and crowd-sourced map of free meal sites in the U.S. Just enter your zipcode or call 1-800-5hungry and text “service”.

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WIC

WIC, which is short for the “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children,” provides nutritious food and education as well as breastfeeding education and support. In Wisconsin, WIC is handled by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Benefits include checks, vouchers and/or EBT card balances designated for the purchase of preapproved foods and infant formula. The EBT cards work similarly to a debit card. Recipients can use the cards to purchase food including fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, canned goods, peanut butter, cold cereals and bread; a full guide to shopping for WIC-eligible foods can be found here.

Being part of the WIC Program also means children can receive immunization referrals and mothers can receive prenatal and postpartum care.

Those receiving WIC may also be eligible for programs such as FoodShare, Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin Works (W-2) and Head Start. Applicants who are already part of those programs are most likely to be eligible for WIC assistance.

To qualify for WIC, applicants must:

  • Live in Wisconsin
  • Have a health or nutrition need
  • Meet income guidelines, which are 185% of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ poverty line
  • Be pregnant, breastfeeding a baby under 1 year old, have had a baby or have been pregnant in the past six months, or have a baby under 1 or a child younger than 5.

If you have a different situation, you can use this U.S. Department of Agriculture prescreening tool to see if you qualify.

To apply, you will need:

  • Proof of residency (like a bill with your address)
  • Proof of income, such as check stubs
  • Proof of pregnancy and/or child (medical records or a birth certificate, for example)

Applications for WIC must go through local WIC offices. Here is a directory of local WIC offices in Wisconsin with addresses and phone numbers. You can also sign up through wicmomstrong.com and someone from a WIC office will contact you.

The next step is to set up an appointment. Due to coronavirus, there are no in-person interviews and initial appointments are being conducted by phone.

After the phone call, a WIC agent follows up. Applicants typically wait a day or two for a call back after the initial phone call.

You can call (800) 642-7837, text (608) 360-9328 or email help@wellbadger.org

There is also a WIC fact sheet available here.

SNAP or FoodShare

SNAP, which is short for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, provides individuals with a monthly food stipend. In Wisconsin, SNAP is referred to as FoodShare.

SNAP benefits are sent to an Electronic Benefit Transfer Card, which can then be used at food stores and retailers that accept FoodShare.

The card can be used to purchase food products such as fruits, vegetables, meat, breads, etc.; however, it cannot be used to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, vitamins or medicines or hot foods.

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Live in Wisconsin
  • Meet income guidelines
  • Meet work requirements if they are considered an able-bodied adult without dependents (or ABAWD). There are some exclusions, such as those receiving unemployment compensation. More about the general work requirements can be found on the USDA website.
 

To see if you are eligible, you can use this test from the Access, the Wisconsin benefits site, or this test from SNAP website.

To apply for FoodShare, you will need the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Address
  • U.S. citizenship or immigration status
  • Employer’s name, address and phone number
  • Job income
  • Other sources of income (social security, e.g.)
  • Names of everyone in the household and their relationship
 

You can apply for FoodShare in person, online, by phone or by mail. 

  • Currently, many offices to apply for FoodShare, such as Milwaukee Enrollment Services, are closed to in-person interviews because of coronavirus.
  • To register online, set up an account with Access at access.wisconsin.gov/access/, click Apply now or Log In (if you have an existing account) and follow the prompts.
  • To register by phone, call (888) 947-6583 Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. A list of phone numbers to local offices across Wisconsin can be found here.
  • Applications can also be mailed to the appropriate address. Addresses can be found by clicking on a county on the map.
 

After submitting an application, applicants must conduct an interview with a local FoodShare agent. Most of these are conducted by phone.

Processing an application can take up to 30 days, but applications could be processed sooner.

Once the applicant is approved, you can expect to receive a QUEST card with benefits that can be used at stores taking part in FoodShare. Benefits are added each month, the day of which depends on the eighth digit of your social security number.

The notice which states you are eligible for FoodShare will also contain a certification period, which is the length of time you will have access to SNAP benefits.

The program phone number is 1 (800) 362-3002, the website is available here: www.benefits.gov/benefit/1592 and there is a Frequently Asked Questions list on the USDA website.

Local Milwaukee Food Pantries

  • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service – Where to find food (and how you can help). Learn More
  • Locate pantries and other sites providing meals View Map
    • Or call 2-1-1
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee are providing three meals a day for kids under age 18. View Participating Locations
  • Friedens Community Ministries has several food pantry locations in Milwaukee. Learn More

National Food Pantry Search

  • Find a local food bank via Feeding America’s National Network of food pantries. Learn More

Free National Grocery Delivery

  • Shipt is offering 4 weeks free delivery for groceries (Target, Meijer, CVS). Learn More

Milwaukee Public Schools Lunch Sites

  • MPS to Provide Free Meals to Students Learn More