According to the last census, three years ago, La Crosse County is 91 percent white.
The largest ethnic group is the Hmong and Asian population, which accounts for 5 percent of people living in the county.
In order to meet the needs of all population groups, the county hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant from Seattle.
Chanin Kelly-Rae spoke Wednesday to the county board, saying she hopes to hear from as many people as possible during her study.
“If there are people that are housing insecure or experiencing homelessness, I want to go to where they are and talk to them, because not everybody has access to social media, or access to the internet,” Kelly-Rae said. “But we want to make sure that we hear from everybody.”
Kelly-Rae, who’s originally from Milwaukee, said information about under served groups can help the county provide job training, improve neighborhoods and increase access to voting.
“It’s your duty and responsibility to make sure that you increase access to affordable healthy local food, access to health and human services, access to parks and natural resources, access to safe and efficient transportation,” Kelly-Rae said.
Interviews and focus groups will be included in Kelly-Rae’s research. Her company will prepare “road maps” for county departments to follow in becoming more inclusive over the next five years.