COVID-19: Response Resources for Wisconsinites

If you are having an emergency, call 911.



Find assistance anywhere in the state

Find help with housing, income, food, health care, and more.

211 Wisconsin

Get information and referrals for thousands of services across Wisconsin. Anyone can call 211 at any time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to talk with someone. Assistance finding help with housing, utilities, food, employment, addiction recovery options, and more is available in over 180 languages.

  • Call 211 or 1-877-947-2211
    • To use video relay service (VRS), dial 877-947-2211
  • Text your ZIP code to 898211
  • Live chat or search their website

Well Badger

Talk with a certified information and referral specialist, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will help you find the right resources to meet your needs, identify programs you’re likely to be eligible for, and help you make a plan, since getting support can take many steps. Interpreter services are available, whenever needed, and follow-up is provided, if wanted.

WISCAP

Some Wisconsin Community Action Agencies provide immediate help. Others can connect you with local resources for:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Health care services
  • Family support

To find your local agency, visit the WISCAP website and click on your county.

State Benefits

The State of Wisconsin has programs to help low-income households with:

  • Food—through FoodShare (also known as SNAP or food stamps)
  • Health care—through BadgerCare Plus and Wisconsin Medicaid
  • Child care expenses—through Wisconsin Shares
  • Income and job readiness—through W-2 (also known as Wisconsin Works)

Anyone can use the ACCESS website at any time to see if you might be eligible for any of these programs or to apply for assistance. You can also apply by contacting your local income maintenance agency.


Do you have symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been exposed? Get tested.

 

Resources from Wisconsin state agencies

Guidance for public meetings during a public health emergency

Income—for help with income

Unemployment insurance

If you have become unemployed or partially unemployed (for example, your hours were cut), you could be eligible for unemployment insurance. 

Job Center of Wisconsin locations offer free internet access to file for unemployment insurance and to search for a job.

Federal stimulus checks

The federal CARES Act created these one-time Economic Impact Payments. If you have not already received a stimulus payment (direct deposit, check, or debit card), the IRS website has information on:

  • Finding out whether your payment has been sent: “Get My Payment.”
  • Receiving a payment, even if you are not required to file income taxes: “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” You can get this payment without filing 2018 or 2019 taxes if:
    • Your single income is less than $12,200.
    • Your married joint income is less than $24,400.
    • You have no income.

Income tax credits

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC) helps working people with low to moderate income. You must meet certain qualifications and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund. For more information, visit the IRS website on the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The ACCESS website can also be used to let you know if you might be eligible for EITC, child, and Homestead tax credits.

Child support

The Wisconsin Child Support Agency has information for:

  • Custodial parents on applying for child support services. 
  • Noncustodial parents on requesting a modification (changing your order). If your income has changed, you may want to look into having your order adjusted.

Wisconsin Works (W-2)

Parents and pregnant women with low incomes may be eligible for Wisconsin Works (W-2). The program can provide case management and/or cash assistance to eligible families. See the W-2 Benefits and Services brochure for more information. 

You can find out if you may be eligible for W-2 online through the ACCESS website or apply at your local W-2 agency.

Financial Information—for information on managing personal finances, mortgages, student loans, and other debt

Managing personal finances in tough times

A number of websites have information on managing your finances during COVID-19.

  • The UW Extension has contact information for free or low-cost financial counselors, highlights common financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provides links to government websites and assistance that might be available.
  • CSBS (originally the Conference of State Bank Supervisors) has information on temporary government relief programs and examples of common COVID-19-related scams and tips on how to avoid them.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau links to information and resources to protect and manage personal finances during the pandemic, including information on mortgage assistance, managing finances, student loans, and avoiding scams.
  • The National Disability Institute (NDI) Financial Resilience Center has information and resources to address the impact of COVID-19 on the financial and personal health of people with disabilities and those with chronic health conditions, as well as their families and communities.
  • Entering your zip code into 211 Financial Information Services provides information about financial services that may be available in your area. Alternately, call 211 (or 1-877-947-2211 for video relay services) any time of day, every day of the year, to speak with someone who can connect you with services.

Credit counseling

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has information on Dealing with Debt Problems and a list of credit counseling agencies that can provide budget counseling, credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and more.

Health care—for health insurance and no- or low-cost health care services

The federal Health Insurance Marketplace and Covering Wisconsin
If you are uninsured, the federal Health Insurance Marketplace can help you find coverage and purchase private health insurance. Assistance with premiums and cost sharing are available to individuals and families, depending on household size and income.

If you need help, Covering Wisconsin can connect you with a health care navigator who will help you find and enroll in the health insurance coverage you need. Navigators can also provide education on how to use your health insurance. This assistance is provided for free, and Covering Wisconsin is available in 16 languages through the use of interpreters and translation services.

Wisconsin Medicaid
To find out if you could be eligible or to apply online for health care coverage through any of the Wisconsin Medicaid programs, visit the ACCESS website. You can apply:

  • By clicking on “Apply for Benefits” on the ACCESS website.
  • By calling your agency.
  • By filling out a paper application.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Guide to Applying for Wisconsin’s Health, Nutrition, and Other Programs or go to the Department of Health Services’ website.

Free or low cost health care

Many clinics in Wisconsin provide services for people with little or no insurance, including:

Special health care situations

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also has information about:

Food—for help putting food on the table

211 Wisconsin Food Pantries

211 is available to help with all kinds of needs, in every part of the state. Enter your zip code into the Wisconsin 211 website to learn about food pantries in your area. Alternately, call 211 (or 1-877-947-2211 for video relay services) any time of day, every day of the year, to speak with someone who can connect you with services.

FoodShare

Also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or food stamps, FoodShare helps people with limited money buy food. Monthly benefit amounts depend on your income and the number of people in your home. You can apply for FoodShare:

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program

WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, and connections to other community services for lower income pregnant women, infants, women who are breastfeeding, postpartum women, and children younger than five years old.

Elder nutrition programs

For information on participating in a program that provides meals to adults aged 60 and older, contact your county or tribal nutrition program.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

CSFP offers free, nutritious foods to low-income individuals aged 60 years and older. Monthly income limits are $1,354 for a single person or $1,832 for a family of two (for larger families add $479 for each additional member).

Housing—for help with rent, renters' rights, mortgages, and more

Find housing help anywhere in Wisconsin

  • 211: Get information and referrals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    • Call 2-1-1 (or dial 877-947-2211 to use video relay services).
    • Text your ZIP code to 898211.
    • Live chat or search the 211 website.
  • WISCAP: To find your local agency, visit the WISCAP website and click on your county.

COVID-19 Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP)

Eligible applicants can receive up to $1,000 per month for three months to pay for rent and/or security deposits. In general, grants are available to adults who live in Wisconsin who have:

  • Lost income due to COVID-19 and are unable to pay rent.
  • Household income at or below 80% of the county average (median income).

If approved, WRAP payments will go directly to your landlord. Households that qualify for utility assistance will have those applications processed at the same time as the request for rent assistance.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration is working with WISCAP to get these funds to eligible renters. Information is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

Contact your local community action agency to apply.

Emergency assistance

Emergency assistance is a one-time payment that can help low-income parents pay an emergency housing or utility-related expense. Emergency assistance payments can be used to:

  • Stop an eviction from your current apartment.
  • Pay a security deposit on a new apartment if you have been evicted.
  • Pay a utility bill if your heat, electricity, sewer, or water service has been stopped.

You can apply for emergency assistance through your local W-2 agency

Critical Assistance (CA) Program

The CA Program is designed to provide direct emergency financial assistance toward housing costs of low- and moderate-income households. The program serves 69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties (it is not available in Dane, Milwaukee, or Racine counties). Applicants may be eligible for help once every three years with one of the following:

  • Security deposit
  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Property taxes 

CDC Eviction Moratorium

Most renters who have lost their job or wages, or who have high health care costs, cannot be evicted through the end of the year for not paying rent. If this describes your situation, to prevent an eviction you do have to tell your landlord or property owner. Complete a declaration form and send it to your landlord. Make sure to confirm they got it. You will still have to pay all of the back rent and any late fees or interest.

This eviction freeze for falling short on rent applies through December 31, 2020, to individuals who will earn $99,000 or less in 2020 ($198,000 for couples); were not required to file 2019 taxes; or who received a stimulus check.

See DATCP or Legal Action of Wisconsin for details.

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) landlord-tenant issues

DATCP’s Guide for Landlords and Tenants answers commonly asked questions about landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities in simple language. The guide is intended to help landlords and tenants avoid common problems and resolve them when they do occur. It is not a comprehensive guide or a substitute for legal advice. The agency does not provide financial assistance or information on resources that do.

211 Wisconsin mortgage assistance

211 is available to help with all kinds of needs, in every corner of the state. Entering your zip code into the Wisconsin 211 website provides information about mortgage assistance that may be available in your area. Alternately, call 211 (or 1-877-947-2211 for video relay services) any time of day, every day of the year, to speak with someone who can connect you with services.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

WHEDA has a variety of options for homeowners who are having difficulties making mortgage payments. Depending on the type of loan you have, you may be eligible for suspended or reduced payments, a repayment plan to catch up on past due amounts, or a change to the terms of your loan. Credit counseling and answers to frequently asked questions are also on the WHEDA website.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB has information and resources to help individuals protect and manage personal finances during the pandemic, including information on mortgage relief options for federally or government sponsored enterprise backed or funded loans (for example, through the FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). CFPB provides information about options, but does not provide direct assistance with mortgage payments.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Making Home Affordable

If you are experiencing difficulty communicating with your mortgage company or lender about your need for mortgage relief, housing counselors are available to help at no cost. Call 888-995-HOPE (4673). The sooner you call, the more options may be available to you. The Making Home Affordable program provides information about options, but does not provide direct assistance with mortgage payments.

Utilities and internet—for help with electric or heating bills, or finding free WiFi

Emergency assistance

Emergency assistance is a one-time payment that can help low-income parents pay an emergency housing or utility-related expense. Emergency assistance payments can be used to:

  • Pay a utility bill if your heat, electricity, sewer, or water service has been stopped.
  • Pay a security deposit on a new apartment if you have been evicted.
  • Stop an eviction from your current apartment.

You can apply for emergency assistance through your local W-2 agency

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)

Low- and moderate-income households may be eligible for heating and electric assistance through WHEAP. Other services include:

  • Emergency fuel assistance.
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets.
  • Proactive copayment plans.
  • Targeted outreach services.
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

For more information, call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947). You can also call this number or visit the website to find out where to apply.

Free internet access

Child care—for help finding and paying for child care

Wisconsin Shares

The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program supports low-income working families by paying for a portion of the cost of child care so that parents or other approved caregivers can work, go to school, or participate in approved work training programs. Wisconsin Shares is implemented locally by counties and tribes. You can apply for Wisconsin Shares: 

Child care availability map

Use this Department of Children and Families website to search for available child care by county or zip code. The map will give you a list of providers, addresses, available slots, and contact information.

Information for families

This Department of Children and Families website contains information to help families navigate making decisions around enrolling their child in a group or family child care program; finding safe, high-quality care; and staying safe in the months ahead.

Assistance for people over 60 or with a disability—for services that are available if you are at least 60 years old or have a disability

Aging and disability resource centers (ADRCs)

Contact your local ADRC to get accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability, including meeting basic needs such as housing, food, and financial assistance. Find your local ADRC through the Department of Health Services website.

If you are a tribal member who is age 60+ or living with a disability, you may choose to contact a tribal aging and disability resource specialist. If your tribe does not have an aging and disability resource specialist, your local ADRC can help you.

Benefit specialists

Benefit specialists help older adults and people with disabilities with questions and problems related to benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, FoodShare, and health insurance.

Elder nutrition programs

For information on participating in a program that provides meals to adults aged 60 and older, contact your county or tribal nutrition program.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

CSFP offers free, nutritious foods to low-income individuals aged 60 years and older. Monthly income limits are $1,354 for a single person or $1,832 for a family of two (for larger families add $479 for each additional member).

National Disability Institute (NDI) Financial Resilience Center
The NDI Financial Resilience Center has information and resources to address the impact of COVID-19 on the financial and personal health of people with disabilities and those with chronic health conditions, as well as their families and communities.

Culturally and linguistically specific resources and services

The following sites have information in a variety of languages or about culturally specific services.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 Resources

DHS has print materials on COVID-19 in several languages and videos of COVID-19-related information in American Sign Language.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH Network of the National Library of Medicine has links to a wide variety of health information in multiple languages.

The National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities

This web-based library contains resources and information on disaster preparedness for culturally diverse communities and other at-risk populations. Resources are available in multiple languages, appropriate to diverse cultures, and cover various emergency contexts. By clicking on “Resource Type,” individuals can narrow the documents to “Resources for public and lay audiences.”

Resilient Wisconsin: A Guide to Sources of Support During COVID-19, P-02670 (PDF)
This short guide provides a list of organizations supporting individuals with mental health or substance use concerns, and highlights specialized programs that offer culturally appropriate care and support to people with mental and behavioral health challenges who belong to underserved populations.

Resources for African American communities

  • The Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin provides a wealth of information, including regular live events on a variety of topics.
  • The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness is located in Madison, and offers a number of resources, programs, and advocacy to take a whole-life wellness approach to serving and supporting women to improve their health and quality of life, and to disrupt the disparities that impact our health outcomes.
  • Dane County residents can set up a meeting to talk about COVID-19 related resources with The Progress Center for Black Women.

Covering Wisconsin

Covering Wisconsin has flyers in Spanish on using ForwardHealth (Wisconsin Medicaid) insurance, making appointments, and where to go when you’re sick:

Family Health La Clinica

Family Health La Clinica believes people have a right to quality health care services that are efficient, effective and accessible. They provide care that is compassionate and delivered in a dignified and respectful manner by a culturally competent and highly professional team of people. The entire website is available in English and Spanish. Services are available in five locations in rural Wisconsin.

Tribal Health Centers

This DHS website provides a list, links, and contact information for the tribal health centers in Wisconsin.

Thawj Nplooj

Thawj Nplooj has a variety of health information and resources for Hmong speakers.


Sources of support: Helplines, hotlines, and virtual meetings

Across Wisconsin, people are experiencing increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, support organizations are working hard to serve more people than ever before. Be persistent and patient and remember: You are not alone and it is OK to ask for help. There are many organizations ready to help. Visit Resilient Wisconsin to learn how to manage stress and adapt to change.

Logo for Resilient Wisconsin: Connected. Stronger. Thriving.

National Disaster Distress Helpline
Speak to a trained counselor

800-985-5990 / 800-846-8517 (TTY)


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Speak to a trained counselor

800-273-8255


HOPELINE Text Service
Connect with someone who cares

Text HOPELINE to 741741

Not safe at home?
Services and supports are available to people who are unsafe in their home or experiencing violence in any way.

For caregivers

Eldercare Locator
Find help in your community
800-677-1116

Caregiver Help Desk
Support to keep you and your loved ones safe
855-227-3640

For essential and frontline workers

COPLINE
Support from retired law enforcement officers who understand the stressors of law enforcement careers
800-267-5463

For the Frontlines​
Connect with a crisis counselor
Text FRONTLINE to 741741

Long-Term Care Facility/Nursing Home Staff
Connect with a Wisconsin-based counselor 
262-376-0250

Physician Support Line
Support for doctors facing mental health challenges
888-409-0141

Safe Call Now
Connect with resources to help you through a crisis
206-459-3020

For farmers and farm families

Wisconsin Farm Center
Support for farmers and their families
800-942-2474

24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline
Connect with licensed mental health professionals
888-901-2558

For LGBTQ+ community

LGBT National ​Hotline
888-843-4564

Trans Lifeline
877-565-8860

The Trevor Project for LGBTQ Youth
866-488-7386
Text START to 678678

For parents and families

Boys Town National Hotline
Connect with a counselor
800-448-3000
Text VOICE to 20121

National Parent Helpline
Get emotional support from a trained advocate and become empowered and a stronger parent
855-427-2736

For people with mental health concerns

A Guide to Sources of Support During COVID-19, P-02670 (PDF)

Hotlines and helplines

Wisconsin Peer-Run Respites
Speak with someone who knows what you are going through

  • Iris Place: 920-815-3217
  • Monarch House: 715-505-5641
  • Solstice House: 608-244-5077

Wisconsin Peer-Run Recovery Centers
Speak with someone who knows what you are going through

  • Cornucopia: 608-249-7477
  • The Friendship Connection: 608-339-6810
  • The Gathering Place: 920-430-9187
  • RAVE Recovery Avenue: 608-785-9615
  • The Wellness Shack: 715-855-7705

Cope Hotline
Support for people in emotional distress
262-377-2673

Milwaukee Warmline
Support for people living with a mental health concern
414-777-4729

NAMI Helpline
Get support for mental health concerns
800-950-NAMI (6264)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Speak with a counselor
800-273-8255

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America
Support for people impacted by psychosis
800-493-2094

Virtual meetings

All Wisconsin counties have a behavioral health crisis hotline. Find the phone number for your county.

For people with substance use concerns

A Guide to Sources of Support During COVID-19, P-02670 (PDF)

Helplines and hotlines

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline
Connect with support services in your area
833-944-4673

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Find treatment services in your community
800-662-HELP

Virtual meetings

12 Steps.org
Find tools and resources for 12-step recovery program participants

Adult Children of Alcoholics
Support for people who grew up with harmful substance use in the home

Al-Anon Electronic Meetings
Find online meetings for those affected by alcoholism in a family member or friend

Alcoholics Anonymous Online Intergroup
Find meetings and recovery resources for people living with alcohol use disorder

Bridge Club Virtual Meetings
Support for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community

Crystal Meth Anonymous
Support for people seeking recovery from methamphetamine addiction

Cocaine Anonymous Online
Support for people seeking recovery from cocaine addiction

Families Anonymous Virtual Meetings
Support for those affected by a loved one’s harmful substance use

Heroin Anonymous
Support for people in recovery from heroin addiction

In The Rooms
Find meetings for those recovering from addiction and related issues

LGBTteetotaler
Support for queer and trans people in recovery

Marijuana Anonymous
Support for people seeking recovery from marijuana addiction

Narcotics Anonymous
Support for people seeking recovery from opioid addiction

Recovery Dharma
Support for people on their path of recovery from addiction using Buddhist practices and principles

Refuge Recovery Online Meetings
Find recovery support meetings

SMART Recovery
Participate in meetings, peer message boards, and 24/7 live chat

Sober Mommies
Support for mothers in and contemplating recovery from substance use/misuse (Facebook group)

Wisconsin Voices for Recovery
Participate in twice weekly meetings for all people in recovery

All Wisconsin counties have a behavioral health crisis hotline. Find the phone number for your county.

For service members and veterans

R&R House
Speak with a veteran who understands what you are going through
262-336-9540

Veterans Crisis Line
Support for veterans struggling to cope with life's challenges
800-273-8255, press 1

For youth and young adults

TEEN LINE
Support for teens experiencing a mental health challenge
Text TEEN to 839863

Your Life, Your Voice
Connect with a counselor
800-448-3000
Text VOICE to 20121

Project RecoveryProject Recovery

People who live in Brown, Dane, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Rock, and Walworth counties who are experiencing emotional distress related to the COVID-19 pandemic can contact Project Recovery for free support from mental health counselors. This program is supported by a grant awarded to Wisconsin from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Last Revised: September 15, 2020