Interagency Council on Homelessness

About the Interagency Council on Homelessness

The Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) was created by 2017 Wisconsin Act 74, which received unanimous support in both the Assembly and the Senate. The ICH held its first meeting in February of 2018. It will continue to meet under existing statutory authority with the goal of preventing and ending homelessness in the state of Wisconsin.

ICH membership consists of the secretaries or directors of the eight executive branch agencies that were identified as receiving state or federal dollars to combat homelessness. Those agencies include the Departments of: Administration, Health Services, Children and Families, Workforce Development, Veterans Affairs, Corrections, and Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Additionally, the United States Government has designated four zones in Wisconsin to coordinate homelessness responses, with each being known as a Continuum of Care (CoC). The four CoCs are: Milwaukee County, Dane County, Racine County, and the Balance of State. Each of those four groups sends a representative to the ICH.

2017 Act 74 also authorized a full-time Director to lead the activities of the council and coordinate the implementation of policies established by the ICH. 

Housing Grant Request For Proposal

WHEDA, through approval from the Members of the Board, has recently made available $500,000 in statewide funding to programs that help the homeless.  Eligible uses of funds include new construction, building acquisition, rehabilitation, handicapped accessibility improvements, conversion of or additions to buildings, site acquisition and other development activities.  Interested applicants must submit their application and supporting documents on or before Friday, August 9th, 2019​.

Member Agencies and Select State Programs

Department of Administration
Critical Assistance (CA)StateProvide direct emergency financial assistance for rent, security deposit, foreclosure prevention
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)Federal to StateProvide funds to meet housing needs of persons with AIDS
State Shelter Subsidy Grant (SSSG)StateProvide funds to emergency shelters and motel voucher programs
Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)Federal to StateProvide rental assistance funds, must be partnered wth supportive services
Emergency Shelter, Housing, Homeless Prevention Program (EHH)Federal and StateProvide funds for street outreach, emergency shelter, homeless prevention, and rapid re-housing
Employment GrantStateProvides funds to a municipality to connect homeless individuals with permanent employment
Homeless Case Management Services GrantStateProvides funds for intensive case management services to homeless families. The services focus on providing financial management, employment, ensuring school continuation for children, and enrolling unemployed or underemployed parents in W-2 or FSET.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)Federal to StateProvide funding to units of general local governments to develop viable communities through the provision of decent affordable housing, a suitable living environment, and the expansion of economic opportunities, principally for the benefit of persons of low and moderate income.
Rental Housing Development Program (RHD)Federal to StateAssists eligible housing organizations, including Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), with funds to develop affordable rental housing. For-profit corporations may partner with the above-mentioned groups or apply directly for RHD funds. Funds may be used for acquisition, rehabilitation and new construction activities.
WI Weatherization Assistance ProgramStateProvides funds to various agencies throughout the state to provide weatherization services to eligible households. Agencies include community action agencies, housing authorities, local governments and other non-profit organizations.
WI Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)Federal and StateProvides assistance for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crisis situations.
Department of Children and Families
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY)Federal or StateProvide street outreach, emergency shelter, and transitional living programs to runaway and homeless youth.
Emergency Assistance (EA)Federal to StateProvides one-time cash payment to help low-income parents pay an emergency housing or utility-related expense.
Wisconsin WorksStateProvides temporary cash assistance and case management services to low-income parents and pregnant women. Funding and services are time-limited.
Independent Living - Transition ResourceStateRegional Transition Resource Agencies are responsible for providing Independent Living services for youth ages 18-21, who are no longer in out-of-home care.
Department of Health Services
Projects for Assistance in Transition from HomelessnessFederal to StateProvide funds to serve individuals with serious mental illness and substance use who are homeless – eligible activities include: outreach, screening/diagnosis, case management, AODA treatment, supportive services.
SSI/SSDI Outreach and Recovery (SOAR)Federal to StateAssist people who are homeless expedite SSI/SSDI application process and access benefits.
Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP)Federal to StateTEFAP is a federal program that provides food commodities to distribution sites – food pantries & meal sites.
Foodshare Employment Training (FSET)StateFSET is a free program that helps FoodShare members build their job skills and find jobs.
MedicaidFederal and StateManages Medicaid health insurance for those age 65 or older, blind, or disabled.
BadgerCare PlusFederal and StateA health care coverage program for low-income Wisconsin residents.
Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)StateConnect to resources, assistance in applying for Medicaid & SSI, provide benefit specialists.
Community Mental Health ProgramsFederal and StateComprehensive Community Services (CCS) – County/Tribal level for mental health, AODA, or dual
Community Support Programs (CSP) - mental health
Community Recovery Services (CRS) - AODA
Department of Veteran's Affairs
HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)Federal to StateCombines Section 8 housing choice voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans and case management and clinical services provided by VA.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF)Federal to StateDVA awards grants to private non-profit organizations to provide outreach, case management, & assist in obtaining VA and other benefits. Eligible activities in prevention or rapid re-housing.
Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant (ANVG)StateProvides limited financial assistance to those in need and who have exhausted all other sources of aid. The grants may be used for specified health care and subsistence needs up to maximum grant limits.
Veteran Housing and Recovery Program (VHRP)StateDesigned to help homeless veterans receive the job training, education, counseling and rehabilitative services they need to obtain steady employment, affordable housing and the skills to sustain a productive lifestyle.
Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP)StateProvides assistance and support Veterans with all aspects of daily living with a focus on home, health, recovery, purpose, and community. This includes National Guard and Reserve service members.
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Section 8 - Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) ProgramFederal to StateHelps families with very low to extremely low incomes rent decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing of their choice. Note that WHEDA does not distribute or accept Housing Choice Voucher applications directly, rather through contracted agencies.
WHEDA Housing Grant ProgramStateProvides an annual competition for grant funds with the mission to assist in the improvement of the state's housing for the following special needs populations.
Low-Income Housing Tax CreditFederal and StateProvides a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income taxes owed by owners/investors in qualified projects for tenants whose incomes are at or below 60% of County Median Income (CMI). The LIHTC program creates housing that is affordable for low- and moderate-income households including elderly, chronically homeless, workforce, individuals & families.
Department of Corrections
Emergency HousingStateDay to day accommodations at hotels/motels or boarding houses (30-60 days).
Short-Term HousingStateYear round contracted housing beds with no site checks (60-90 days).
Supplemental HousingStateOffender leased housing where DCC may pay all or part of the monthly rent (60- 90 days).
Transitional Housing
StateHousing is provided in the form of one to two bedroom apartment(s) or a facility with multiple single- or double-occupancy bedrooms with access to congregate living areas and shared kitchen. The contractor supplies all bedding, household supplies, food, and staff supervision via random on-site inspections. Offenders attend on-site program services as determined by their agent and are allowed to work if they have outside employment.
Department of Workforce Development
Workforce Innovataion and Opportunities Act (WIOA)Federal to StateWIOA seeks to more fully integrate states' workforce and talent development systems to better serve employers and job seekers.
Veteran Employment ProgramStateAssist Veterans enter the workforce through targeted business engagement and effective employment services. DWD & DVA offer a WI Veteran Employment Grant Program to encourage Wisconsin employers to hire and retain eligible Veterans.
Vocational RehabilitationStateVR services are any services described in a plan for employment necessary to assist a consumer in preparing for, securing, retaining or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of the consumer.
Department of Public Instruction
Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY)Federal and StateThe program's major responsibility is to implement the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Homeless children and unaccompanied homeless youth must have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, and other services as provided to other children and youths to ensure that homeless children and youth have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held.

Vision Statement & Statewide Plan

By adopting this plan and the strategies it contains, the Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness is endorsing a vision for homeless services. That vision is built on the following pillars: 

1) The Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness adheres to a Housing First mindset which assumes all Wisconsinites are housing ready. Housing First is a mindset, not a program. The Council must recognize it as a part of a diverse set of strategies necessary to addressing all forms of homelessness. 

2) “Housing First” does not and cannot mean “Housing Only.” Simply moving someone onto a housing subsidy rarely guarantees financial stability, nor will it necessarily treat the underlying issues that caused homelessness in the first place. 

3) Evidence-based case management is a key part of any homeless response. Case management must be embraced by both the service provider and the client. 

4) Any long-term success must not be judged on the number of people added to government programs or placed in shelter beds; it must be judged on the number of people responsibly moved into independent living with low likelihood of returning to homelessness or financial insecurity. 

5) A Wisconsin where no one ever becomes homeless for any reason is unrealistic. A Wisconsin where homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring is an achievable goal that we must all strive towards. 

6) Progress should be measured by evidence and data. Where adequate data does not exist, Council members should prioritize data collection, sharing, and analysis. 


​2019-2022 Statewide Action Plan



Helpful Links

Institute for Community Alliances (Wisconsin HMIS Administrator)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care

Milwaukee Continuum of Care

Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County

Continuum of Care for the City and County of Racine, U.A.