Republican bills target homelessness in state

Republican lawmakers have introduced four bills they say will address homelessness in Wisconsin.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and other representatives held a news conference Wednesday with housing advocates from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Homelessness and the Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care. They said homelessness affected nearly 27,000 people last year.

“Homeless people and families, their issues span the entire breadth of state government,” said Joe Volk, with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Homelessness. “You could name an agency and the homeless probably have some needs and some reason to interact with that agency.”

One measure would establish an Interagency Council on Homelessness chaired by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Others would allow the state housing authority to pilot a program that prioritizes chronically homeless people on the waitlist for federal housing vouchers and create grants for municipalities to help the homeless find work.

Continuum of Care Director Carrie Poser says 5,800 people in Wisconsin are homelessness each night.

“Homelessness is not just an urban issue, it’s a rural one as well,” Poser said. “In rural areas, homelessness is often hidden so it’s easier to be out of sight and out of mind.”

Republican bills target homelessness in state

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