Increasing Access to Emergency Assistance Grants for Domestic Violence Survivors in Wisconsin

Emergency Assistance grants are a means-tested, one-time payment available to people experiencing a housing crisis in Wisconsin. Survivors of domestic violence have experienced declining rates of approval for Emergency Assistance since 2010 while increasingly applying for these grants. In this report for End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, we examine the barriers that domestic violence survivors encounter when applying for Emergency Assistance. Barriers include a complex application process, difficulty accessing the necessary documentation safely, domestic violence screening practices, and insufficient training of W-2 caseworkers in domestic violence responsiveness. We provide 35 recommendations to reduce these barriers in the categories of: (1) procedures, (2) training, (3) screening, (4) financial benefits, and (5) organizational culture. We prioritize our recommendations based on potential impact to survivors of domestic violence and implementation feasibility, and we provide eight high-priority recommendations.


  • Course: Spring 2020 Workshop in Public Affairs, PA 869, taught by Gregory F. Nemet
  • Authors:  Erik Gartland, Nathaniel Haack, Corissa Mosher, Maddie Sychta, Erik Thulien
  • Client: End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

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