Department of Commerce: Provides Post-Disaster Assistance

Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661

MADISON – Following the torrential rains and flooding that have devastated many Wisconsin communities this past week, the Department of Commerce would like to notify the public that it has resources for citizens and municipalities to utilize in their clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

“Our staff is ready to assist individuals and municipalities to help them tap into resources that will help with rebuilding our communities,” said Secretary Mary P. Burke. “While much of our funding is required to go directly to municipalities, there are areas in Commerce that can help guide individual homeowners through that process.”

The two divisions in Commerce that deal with public and private building and housing matters include:

Division of Safety and Buildings

A building contractor must inform you (before they enter into a home improvement contract with

you) of all required building or construction permits that are necessary to complete the

contracted job. To get a building permit for one or two-family homes built after 1980 (in many

municipalities, homes of any age), contractors must be registered with the Division of Safety

and Buildings (608-266-3151), showing proof they have paid for worker’s compensation,

unemployment insurance, and have a minimum level of liability or a bond. The liability insurance covers worker and public injuries and damage to property.

The department’s website provides a list of those dwelling contractors that are registered with

the department, in addition to over 500 other credentialed building trade professionals. This

information can be found at: The credentials of

home inspectors, appraisers, architects, engineers and other professionals can be found on the

Department of Regulation and Licensing website at

In addition, the Division of also provides a contact list for all licensed building inspectors for the

state at

Division of Housing and Community Development

In response to natural disasters or other catastrophic events, the Division can assist communities eligible to participate in the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program (cities, towns and villages with populations below 50,000 and counties other than Milwaukee, Dane and Waukesha). These funds can help communities finance extraordinary clean up costs and expenditures associated with the repair or replacement of public infrastructure needed to restore basic public services.

These funds may also be used to repair uninsured housing damage caused by storms, floods or other disasters or replace housing units destroyed in the disaster.

This housing assistance is available only to support low- and moderate-income households Housing assistance is made available through local municipalities which, in turn, work with eligible households. For information, contact Caryn Stone by phone at 608/267-3682 or by e-mail at [email protected]