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As I See It

Help for the homeless doesn’t make it onto legislative agenda

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Homelessness remains a problem in Wisconsin. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 people in the state are living on the streets. Much effort has been put into solving the problem. In La Crosse, groups have been working to provide stable housing for military veterans and others who have become homeless. And there was optimism that the state was poised to do more to keep people off the streets. State government appointed the first ever panel to combat homelessness. That panel recommended doubling the amount of money spent by state government to get people into affordable housing. The additional $4 million would increase subsidies for shelter and create a state program for helping those on the verge of homelessness to find suitable living arrangements. A series of eight separate bills to combat the problem were introduced. But it seems they may be going nowhere. Next Tuesday is scheduled to be the final day of floor debate for this legislative session, and the Senate President has released the list of bills to be debated and voted on before the session expires. The bills addressing homelessness are not on that list. That is despite the fact the bills were all approved by the Assembly, and the funding has been set aside. The only step still needed is approval by the full Senate. It would be a shame after all this work if these bills were allowed to die. Our lawmakers should get these bills on the agenda in their final days, and approve this funding that could help reduce Wisconsin’s homeless population.

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