Putting homeless people together in one city park is better than having them all over La Crosse…but not much better. That’s one of the observations made by a consultant from Gundersen who makes regular visits to the homeless camp at Houska Park.
Sandy Brekke tells the city’s human rights commission that conditions at Houska are “inhumane,” but they would be that way no matter where the homeless gather.
“There’s no refrigeration, so we’ve got people eating questionable food,” Brekke says. “I’ve got photos of tents that are sitting in mud puddles.”
The city of La Crosse has designated Houska Park, along the Mississippi, as a common campground for homeless people throughout the summer. During colder months, they had been staying at the EconoLodge motel, and Brekke says people were doing better indoors because they could actually sleep.
“How are we okay with this?” she asks. “This is the grossest human psychological experiment on the earth, like to…have people try to survive.”