All about Milwaukee's universal tenant representation program

03/27/2023, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

UPDATE: Report shows success of universal rep program


An independent evaluation of Milwaukee's universal representation program called Eviction Free Milwaukee (which increased tenant representation rates from 2% to upwards of 16%) has found that:


  • The following percentages of clients had success in meeting their goals:
    • 76% seeking to prevent an eviction on their record;
    • 72% seeking to seal their eviction record;
    • 70% seeking to prevent an involuntary move;
    • 47% seeking to obtain rental assistance;
    • 42% seeking to obtain additional time to move.
  • 86% of EFM clients were determined to have at least one complex case criteria (and 31% had multiple complex criteria), which contradicts the narrative that eviction cases are largely simple.
  • The program's $3 million investment was estimated to save the County at least $9 million based on avoided foster care, homelessness, health and school spending, and out-migration from the city.
  • In terms of demographics, 75% of EFM clients identified as female and 76% as Black, which is contrasted with the MIlwaukee County general population (51% female and 28% Black).

The report's release was covered by Urban Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.




Milwaukee County has passed a resolution introduced by Supervisor Ryan Clancy in support of right to counsel, and appropriated sufficient funding ($900,000 in 2021 and $1.8 million in 2022, as well as $300,000/year for 3 years contributed by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County) to ensure that all low-income tenants have access to counsel.  Program information can be found at Eviction Free MKE.


The Wisconsin Examiner, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Urban Milwaukee, TMJ 4, and Milwaukee Community Journal have more on the story.