Wisconsin Governor Evers Reverses Race-Based Grants Following Constitutional Concerns

Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers opted to remove the consideration of race from a mortgage-assistance program after the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) highlighted several constitutional concerns.

The group pointed out that Evers intended to expand eligibility for “socially disadvantaged” groups, defining those as “any racial or ethnic group besides non-Hispanic/Latinx White.”

According to WILL, the draft of the proposal illegally discriminated against individuals based on race, violating the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In order to comply legally, Evers stripped the classification when the plan became active.

“It is disappointing to see pernicious ideas like racial discrimination return in the form of government programs. It’s a relief the Evers administration recognized the clear constitutional and legal problems we identified in the design of this program and fixed them before any money was distributed. The program is now open to all Wisconsinites, regardless of race, and that’s great news,” said WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington.

Evers highlighted the program, which received money through the American Rescue Plan, as a lifeline to some owners. A press release announcing the grants detailed the $92 million would “provide mortgage, local property tax assistance, and support for essential utilities and internet costs to homeowners at risk of losing their homes.”

“The Wisconsin Help for Homeowners program will provide a lifeline to homeowners who might otherwise be at risk of losing their homes because of hardships created by the pandemic,” said Governor Evers. “Whether because of losing hours at work, increasing household costs, or any number of other reasons, Wisconsin stands ready to help folks make ends meet and get back on their feet because no one should ever have to worry about keeping a roof over their head for themselves or their family.”

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Wisconsin Daily Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tony Evers” by Tony Evers.

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