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As I See It

Are pallet homes the solution to La Crosse’s homeless problem?



We’re starting to get a chill in the air. We are still enjoying a beautiful autumn, but that means winter will be here soon enough. And for those living in the homeless encampment in La Crosse’s Houska Park, that has them wondering what the coming season will mean to them. Dozens of tents have popped up in the park over the summer, something sanctioned by the city. But living there during the winter is not sustainable. Local governments and charity organizations have tried a number of ways to secure housing for those living on the streets. They include paying to put them up in local hotels, deemed necessary during the pandemic. But what about this winter? La Crosse could consider looking to Madison, where they have a similar homeless encampment in a city park. They are planning to partner with a company called Pallet to build small shed-like structures in the park so those without permanent housing can continue to live in the park, even during our harsh winter. These shelters are insulated, have heat, power outlets, a small storage area and a folding bed. They can be set up in about an hour. They aren’t cheap, each costing around $5000. But La Crosse should consider whether that is a better investment and a better solution than writing blank checks to local motels.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. roger thornhill

    October 16, 2021 at 7:24 am

    how many bus tickets would 5000 buy. I know using todays rates it would buy 14 one way tickets to Los Angeles. To build 14 of the shelters would cost 70,000 dollars. but hey the city is getting something like 23 million free dollars that would build a whole complex in Houska to house the unfortunate.

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