Conservative law firm challenges Gov. Tony Evers over homeowner assistance program local government

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A conservative law firm has questioned the legality of a mortgage assistance program announced by Gov. Tony Evers last year — and questioned the program’s intent to channel federal funds to people of color as discriminatory.

The Democratic governor announced the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program in August. It is intended to provide approximately $92.7 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to eligible homeowners statewide. The program is designed to help alleviate financial hardship related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by preventing mortgage defaults, defaults, foreclosures, and loss of utility and energy services.

Severe weather that swept parts of the U.S. brought freezing temperatures to the Pacific Northwest and heavy snow to the mountains of northern California and Nevada. Warming shelters were opened across Oregon and western Washington as temperatures plummeted into the teens, and forecasters said an Arctic blast would last for a few days. Snow showers blew into the Pacific Northwest from the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday, pouring up to 6 inches across the Seattle area. SEE MORE: Storms in the west bring flood threats, snow for Christmas, Oregon state officials have declared a state of emergency. In Multnomah County, home of Portland, six severe weather shelters are open and more locations are planned to open, including the Oregon Convention Center. Seattle city leaders also opened at least six severe weather shelters Saturday through at least Wednesday. Winter weather resulted in canceled flights in Seattle, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and elsewhere. Blowing snow in the mountains of Northern California and Nevada closed key highways, with forecasters warning that travel in the Sierra Nevada could be difficult for several days. At Donner Pass in the Sierra, officials at the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory on Monday The recent snowfall broke the snowiest December record of 179 inches set in 1970. The record now stands at 193.7 inches as more snow is expected. Northstar California Resort in Truckee closed its mountain operations Monday amid snowstorms. The resort has received more than 6 feet of snow in the past 48 hours, according to the resort’s Facebook post. Resources reported Monday that snowpack across the area was between 145% and 161% of normal, with more snow expected. Additional coverage from The Associated Press.



The federal government directs states to provide grants to homeowners whose income is 100% or less of the median income for their household size. However, states can increase the income entitlement pool to those earning 150% of the region’s median income if funding is allocated to “socially disadvantaged” individuals, defined by the federal government as Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans and pacific islanders. Other people would not be eligible.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a nonprofit, conservative law firm founded in 2011, sent a letter to Evers Wednesday claiming that the state’s plan to follow federal guidelines is under the U.S. Constitution and the states is illegal.

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