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La Crosse mayor says rental assistance program will provide great benefits



Rental assistance is a relative bargain in La Crosse.

That’s how La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat sees a program that has received preliminary approval to move forward in the city.

A city council committee, Thursday night, approved putting $110,000 toward a rental assistance program for the homeless.

It’s something that is far from an unnecessary expense, argues Kabat.

“The costs, actually,” Kabat said, “are much and far greater than what our police department and other departments have has to deal with when we find that people are homeless, and they’re having other issues that really do end up costing a lot of money.”

The rental assistance program will be in coordination with the La Crosse Collaboration to End Homelessness.

Kabat said there shouldn’t be a question the city needs a rental assistance program. People need help, he said, and it’s a small amount of money that the city will spend that can prevent all sorts of more expensive issues that happen when there are people living on the street.

“We will still end up spending that money in other ways, anyway,” Kabat said. “Through our police department, through the other services and other problems that are caused when you have people who are homeless and having other issues that they have to deal with.

“Whether you’re talking about the ER, social services or shelters, I do feel like this is a much more cost effective approach.”

Of the $110,000, a grant will cover $50,000 and $60,000 is carryover money from last year’s budget.

The full council votes on the assistance program next week.

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