Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Dear community partners,
Like all of you, Riverworks is adapting to the current situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times, and our thoughts and prayers are with each of you and your families as you navigate new situations at work, home and school.
The Riverworks staff have adapted quickly to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being as we continue our work. We are in daily contact with residents, community partners, city leaders, and local businesses, to stay on top of the changing landscape and the needs of our community.
Most importantly, we want you to know that we are actively identifying and addressing how Riverworks can best support the needs of our community at this time.
Riverworks Financial Clinicis a hub for dealing with financial challenges. Since Safer-At-Home went into effect, the Financial Clinic has continued to serve clients through the phone, text and now Zoom. Our new automated texting system can alert clients quickly to current resources. Through virtual Financial Clinic services and text services, Riverworks can help people connect to critical income support resources including unemployment, Student loan deferment, utility assistance, mortgage payment plans, legal assistance, renter rights and other non-reoccurring cash or non-cash assistance. ContactCoretta Herring for more information.
Valet VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)offers tax preparation that benefits taxpayers and non-filers during COVID-19 in a safe format. Riverworks' Financial Clinic was selected by the IRS to pilot this Valet VITA Program to help people file their taxes remotely. Valet VITA ensures that no eligible individual will miss an opportunity to file their taxes and/or apply for the stimulus program during the Stay At Home Order. ContactCoretta Herringfor more information.
Property Resourcesare available to help homeowners, tenants, and landlords understand their rights and get help. Riverworks is able to help people understand what resources are available for payment deferment and utility assistance, as well as ongoing home repair grants and loans during the crisis and beyond. Homeowners should contact their mortgage providers if they are concerned about not being able to make payments due to loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be able to have payments postponed, but this is not automatic and you need to communicate with you mortgage provider. Check outTake Root Milwaukee’s website for more information about how to get started. ContactAmy Rohan for more information about property resources.
Business grants and resourcesare being identified and Riverworks staff are helping local business owners as they face new challenges such as lack of rent payments, furlough / laying off employees or forced closures. The Riverworks BID is directly connected to numerous governmental and philanthropic organizations that continue to update their services, grants, and loans to accommodate struggling businesses. ContactKate Bartlett for more information.
Riverworks’ Coin Laundryremains open as an essential service. Riverworks Coin Laundry is one of the few laundry facilities in the City of Milwaukee which has remained open during the pandemic; it offers a critical service for residents. This business is also a workforce development and social enterprise which means Riverworks has been able to keep people employed and working. Strict restrictions on the number of customers and a rigorous disinfecting protocol are in place. ContactShaunta Gibbs for more information. Also, check out thisnews article from CBS58.
Riverworks Cleansemployees remain hard at work addressing essential maintenance services. Riverworks Cleans provides employment opportunities to Milwaukee residents while, at the same time, improving Milwaukee neighborhoods and properties with contracts through the City of Milwaukee, property management companies, and BIDs throughout the city. Social distancing and other safety protocols are in place to protect the well-being of our employees. It’s important to keep our communities well maintained and sanitary during this crisis. Please notify Riverworks if you know of illegal dumping that needs to be addressed. ContactJohn Cervantesto report illegal dumping.
We know that the African-American community is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners, atData You Can Use, put together a reportwhich compares Harambee to citywide data examining the underlying health conditions that make this virus so deadly for some. They are also in the process ofmapping these dataacross Milwaukee.
Riverworks will be posting updated information onFacebook and on ourwebsite, as well as through periodic newsletters. For the most current updates please “like” us on Facebook. Our staff are working, so please reach out by phone or email to our general mailboxes to be directed appropriately.
Message from the Executive Director:
I am deeply concerned about the neighborhoods we serve, the children and adults that rely on our programs and services that we operate which bring calm, hope and peace to our community. However, I have spent my entire life living and working in this community and I know that the people who live here are resilient and compassionate. I know we will continue to watch out for one another and we will come through this together stronger than before.
As much as possible, please stay at home to protect yourself, your families and the community. Stay healthy and stay connected.