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FAST Fund Receives County Funding to Support MATC Student Housing Needs

Milwaukee County Press Release 9/24/20

 MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal from Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson today to allocate $35,000 to an independent fund that helps Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) students avoid eviction and maintain housing stability while they earn their degree. 

“When I learned that MATC students were having difficulty accessing housing aid during the Coronavirus pandemic, I knew that something needed to be done,” said Nicholson. “This is a relatively small expenditure for the County but it will provide a lifetime of benefits to the students we help. We can ensure these MATC students stay focused on school, graduate, and become successful.” 

The American Federation of Teachers Local 212, representing faculty and staff at MATC, created the Faculty and Students Together Fund (FAST Fund) in the wake of a 2015 study which found that half of all community college students are struggling with food and/or housing insecurity. 

Local 212 created the fund as an independent nonprofit to help ensure hunger, transportation, housing instability, and poverty are not learning obstacles to MATC students, so that students may focus on their studies, stay enrolled, graduate, and move on to successful careers. 

The first co-sponsor on the item, Supervisor Steve Shea, has taught at MATC for many years. 

“MATC is a route out of poverty and these resources will directly help students who are homeless and hungry so they can complete their degree. I’ve had students in my classes who slept the night before in a shelter or on someone’s floor. This will help those types of students,” said Shea. “Dollar for dollar, this resolution may be the best investment the Board makes. These students will become taxpayers. This resolution will return in revenue.” 

MATC is Wisconsin’s only “majority-minority” college. Approximately 70 percent of its students are low income and 83 percent are Milwaukee County residents.