ETI Publications


Lois M. Quinn

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



Throughout its history Milwaukee has seen shifting and complex interplays among local, state and federal government policies regarding support provided to needy families through work relief and financial aid welfare payments. This paper examines three periods highlighting competing theories for work relief and welfare support that have operated in Milwaukee: (1) the city and county responses to the Great Depression in 1930-1933 with local funding for short-term work relief along with financial and commodities aid to families; (2) the federal government’s commitment for large-scale infrastructure work projects in 1933 – 1941; and (3) the Wisconsin government’s reductions in both work relief and welfare aid to individuals and families in the 1990s and 2000s