COVID-19: Response Resources for Wisconsinites

      Find assistance anywhere in the state

      Find help with housing, income, food, health care, and more. If you are having an emergency, call 911.

      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.

      ACCESS

      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 for support

      Economic and financial support

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

      Federal stimulus checks
      If you have not already received a stimulus payment (direct deposit, check, or debit card), the IRS website has information on:

      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:

      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.

      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 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 is 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:

      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).

      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.

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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.

      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.

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

      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

       

      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 a licensed mental health professional
      888-901-2558

      Project Recovery
      Connect with a behavioral health counselor

      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

       

       

      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

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


      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 experiencing stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic can contact Project Recovery for free support from behavioral health counselors. To request help, call 211 and ask for Project Recovery or visit the Project Recovery website.

      Last Revised: January 14, 2021