An abundance of assistance programs is available for low-income Milwaukee seniors to help them afford and cover the costs of living expenses. Federally funded programs are available to help pay for groceries as well as home energy assistance and weatherization costs. Community-based resources include transportation services, meals on wheels, and food pantries. Senior centers provide older adults with the opportunity to take classes, sign-up for fitness programs, or simply enjoy the company of other seniors at local events.
Milwaukee seniors have several nutritional assistance programs available to help them pay for groceries or get meals delivered to their homes. FoodShare Wisconsin is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for low-income residents. Financial benefits are loaded onto the recipient’s QUEST Card, which works much the same way as a credit card when buying food and groceries.
The Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin provides Meals on Wheels services, which delivers food to homebound or disabled seniors residing within the Milwaukee area. Goodwill’s Dining Centers program is another option for seniors to explore where nutritious meals along with entertainment are regularly served along with special surprise treats and door prizes.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers an excellent selection of resources and tools to help low-income Milwaukee seniors with their housing needs. Options to explore as posted on HUD include reverse mortgages for seniors, federal housing programs for seniors, units for the elderly, public housing, and housing choice vouchers (Section 8). HUD’s “affordable apartment search” tool lists about 50 apartment complexes in the Milwaukee area for seniors.
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) provides a variety of benefits to low-income seniors. Options include heating assistance, electric assistance, crisis assistance, and furnace assistance. Older adults can receive financial support to help them cover the costs of heating bills and electric utility bills. Emergency assistance is available for those that received a disconnect notice. Seniors that need furnace repairs or replacement can receive help to pay for necessary expenses.
Weatherization assistance programs for Milwaukee seniors are administered by the Wisconsin Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources. Local residents that are approved for benefits receive energy conversation and budget counseling, and their homes are assessed to evaluate overall energy efficiency levels. Services are then provided to help reduce overall home energy costs and expenses.
Interfaith Older Adult Programs administers a variety of programs through six social centers that are located within Milwaukee County. The services are available to individuals that are at least 50 years of age or older. Transportation services are available free of cost to help Milwaukee seniors by giving them rides to go grocery shopping, to pick-up prescriptions at the pharmacy, and driving them to the doctor’s office for appointments.
Activities and events include recreational programs and educational classes that provide seniors with the opportunity to connect with others in the community, make new friends, and stay active and healthy. Options to enjoy oneself are unlimited and include taking an art class, enhancing one’s computer skills, taking music lessons or learning to dance.
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