Community Action News


January 10, 2019

WISCAP is a statewide association of Wisconsin’s 16 Community Action Agencies and two single purpose agencies working to fight poverty in Wisconsin. WISCAP and its members are committed to creating economic opportunity and supporting community-based solutions to poverty. As a leader in efforts to address poverty in Wisconsin, we keenly understand the need for policies that enable economic equality and that provide pathways for the Community Action Network to address needs of Wisconsinites with low income.  The following set of policies represent WISCAP’s- in partnership with other stakeholders- priorities for the coming legislative session.

Comprehensive Measures to Fight Poverty

Introduction and Passage of an Omnibus Anti-Poverty Bill. WISCAP will work with members of the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly to introduce a legislative package designed to provide transformational investments that reduce poverty and fundamentally improve people’s economic circumstances.  This bill will further the goal of addressing the systemic barriers to achieving economic stability by providing housing, health, job training, and income supports.

Wisconsin CSBG Supplement. WISCAP will work with members of the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly for the passage of legislation to create a state supplement to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program.

Community Services Block Grant Act Reauthorization Act. WISCAP will work with our national partners at the Community Action Partnership and the National Community Action Foundation to ensure passage of federal CSBG reauthorization.

Access to Housing and Shelter

Increased funding to Department of Administration Critical Assistance Program (DOA). WISCAP calls for an increase in this emergency rent/eviction prevention fund from $280,000 to $560,000.

Increased funding to Department of Administration State Shelter Subsidy Grant Program (SSGP) WISCAP calls for an increase in this emergency shelter grant from $1.13 million to $2 million.

Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH). As a member of the Implementation Task Force, WISCAP will represent the interest of its member agencies by participating in the state ICH, advocating for comprehensive solutions to homelessness and all populations which experience it.

Passage of the Federal Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA). WISCAP supports this bi-partisan legislation to align HUD homeless assistance eligibility criteria with criteria used by most other federal agencies and programs.

Addressing Barriers to Employment

Expansion of the Job and Business Development Program (DWD). WISCAP calls for an increased appropriation from $200,600 to a minimum of $500,000.

Expansion of Skills Enhancement Program (DCF) WISCAP calls for an increased appropriation from $250,00 to a minimum of $500,000.

Expand the availability and affordability of transportation, including greater support to car purchase programs like Jump Start andWork-n-Wheels.

Expand the availability and affordability of quality child care.  WISCAP also supports efforts to increase the child care supplement for families with low income.

Access to Health Supports

Community Action Opioid Response Act. WISCAP will work with our national partners at the Community Action Partnership and the National Community Action Foundation to ensure passage of federal legislation to better coordinate community action agency resources and opioid response services.

WISCAP supports efforts to expand primary care availability and promote the expansion of mental health treatment availability and accessibility, substance abuse treatment availability and accessibility, and suicide prevention efforts and technical assistance for farmers who are struggling. 

For more information, contact Brad Paul, [email protected]



Kassidy Berens
Communications Manager & Office Admin
(608) 244-4422
[email protected]

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2018

The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) has been awarded a grant from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Care and Treatment Services to provide crisis counseling, outreach, and support to communities impacted by the floods, landslides, and tornadoes that swept the state this past summer.

The “Project Recovery” response will be led by Couleecap, Inc. (Westby) and include the efforts of five community action agencies (CAAs) over a nine-county area. Partnering agencies include CAP Services (Stevens Point), Central Wisconsin CAC (Wisconsin Dells), Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (Dodgeville) and Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc (Dane).

“When individuals and communities start to rebuild their homes and businesses, they often face trauma and exhaustion,” said Brad Paul, WISCAP’s Executive Director. “This grant will help provide crucial links to both emotional and material resources for those in need, particularly in farming communities and areas of high poverty.”

This project will enable Couleecap and partner CAAs to hire and train outreach workers to provide assessment, referrals and disaster relief services, including mental health or substance abuse treatment as appropriate. Outreach teams will be assigned to Disaster Recovery Centers and encourage both survivors of recent flooding and the community at large to register for FEMA assistance.

“Natural disasters leave lasting and persistent devastation to people, families, and communities.  Recovery is not only about rebuilding structures, it’s also about rebuilding connections, coping strategies, and resiliency.  That is what Project Recovery is all about,” says Hetti Brown, Executive Director of Couleecap, Inc.


 Project Recovery is a service made possible through the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Farm Center, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. If you would like more information about Project Recovery at the county level, please call 1-844-260-7029 or e-mail [email protected] 

WISCAP Donates Materials to Wisconsin Historical Society for Future Research Use

WISCAP Donates Materials to Wisconsin Historical Society for Future Research Use

For Immediate Release

Friday, November 9, 2018

Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
[email protected]

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) recently donated materials to the Wisconsin Historical Society that consist of board and committee minutes, annual reports, newsletters, press releases and subject files on WISCAP initiatives.

“The donation from WISCAP will be a great tool for researchers and others needing first person resources for work on community action programs,” said Matt Blessing, State Archivist for the Wisconsin Historical Society.

WISCAP, the statewide association for Wisconsin’s sixteen community action agencies, was incorporated on March 1, 1974. The private, not-for-profit corporation works to bring economic self-sufficiency to Wisconsin’s low-income households through various programs, including housing, job and skill training, energy assistance, and food security.

“These documents help trace more than fifty years of anti-poverty efforts in Wisconsin.  Researchers interested in primary source material on WISCAP and its statewide network of community action agencies will find this collection highly rewarding,” said Brad Paul, Executive Director of WISCAP. “We are pleased to make this gift to the Wisconsin Historical Society.”

 The records are cataloged and available as part of the Society’s Archives and can be accessed by visiting the Archives Reading Room at the Wisconsin Historical Society.  A detailed online inventory of the collection will be linked from the catalog record at a future date.

For more information or to request a reading room view click here.

About Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit
WISCAP & Madison Capitols Join Together to ‘Put Poverty on Ice’

WISCAP & Madison Capitols Join Together to ‘Put Poverty on Ice’

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Kassidy Berens Communications Manager, WISCAP (608) 244-4422

Madison, WI – WISCAP is teaming up with the Madison Capitols to “Put Poverty on Ice” at their next home game against the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Friday, October 26th at Bob Suter’s Ice Arena in Middleton.

This fundraiser takes place as the City of Middleton has declared October 26, 2018 Community Action Day. Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar will also be on hand for the ceremonial puck drop at the start of the game. Throughout the night, educational materials on poverty in Wisconsin will be distributed and featured in video and PA announcements. WISCAP, Wisconsin’s Poverty Fighting Network, is comprised of 16 community action agencies, working across the state to address the realities of poverty and economic dislocation.

“We love the opportunity to partner with WISCAP this season to help raise awareness on the issue of poverty,” said Capitols President Andrew Joudrey. “Working with community groups is something we are committed to as an organization.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting this event with our sponsors and the Capitols. More than ten percent of Wisconsinites live below the poverty line. Sports, including hockey, can serve as a great way to bring people together and draw attention to these important issues,” said WISCAP’s Executive Director Brad Paul.

Current sponsors include Edgewood College’s School of Business, COR Program, and School of Integrative Studies, the Wisconsin Association of Taxicab Owners (WATO), and Mutual of America. If you are interested in a corporate sponsorship or a group outing with friends or employees, please call WISCAP at (608) 244-4422 or email them at [email protected] You can also contact the Capitols office by calling (608) 257-CAPS or emailing them at [email protected]

Additionally, please use the link below to purchase individual tickets with a built-in donation heading back to WISCAP.



CONTACT:  Timothy Smeeding, [email protected], (608) 890-1317

MADISON—A supplement to the annual Wisconsin Poverty Report released today examines poverty and income by race and ethnicity in the state overall and in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin’s most populous county.

The study finds large disparities in financial insecurity between white residents and those of color, especially African Americans.

The supplement, like the Wisconsin Poverty Report, uses the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), which was designed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to inform policy by offering up-to-date and place-specific data that go beyond the official statistics for Wisconsin.

One of the important differences between the WPM and the official poverty measure that produces the statistics cited by news media is that the WPM considers noncash benefits and taxes, including refundable tax credits. Including these forms of assistance and tax credits that reward work in poverty calculations produces much more accurate estimates of resources and need than possible using the official measure.

Recent attention to racial segregation in Milwaukee, poor economic, educational, and social outcomes for black children in Wisconsin, and large racial differences in incarceration rates suggests that populations of color are not faring well in the state and especially not in Milwaukee.

In this supplement, researchers take a closer look. The population is from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) sample and is divided into three groups: black non-Hispanics (7.2 percent of the Wisconsin population), Hispanic and other ethnicities and races, including Asians and mixed races (10.2 percent), and white non-Hispanics (82.7 percent).

Milwaukee County is the main area of focus in this report, which in 2016 included 69.0 percent of all blacks and 70.3 of all black children in the state.

Researchers measured the economic status of children by the incomes of their families. Family units with black children accounted for 11.8 percent of all Wisconsin families in the 2016 ACS sample, but 39.5 percent of all families with children in Milwaukee County (see Figure 1).

Please see the supplemental report here.

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