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Bridge housing proposal for Hillview brings questions from La Crosse County board members



Future uses for the Hillview Health Care Center in La Crosse are still being discussed by the county board.

At Monday night’s board meeting, county administrator Jane Klekamp described details of a plan to include day care and bridge housing in an overall project to cost $19 million.

“If the board supports that, then we will go forward to solicit bids for the different proponents of it, and then we will return to the veterans, aging, long-term care committee and the board for the consideration of this,” said Klekamp.

Other parts of the Hillview transition include adding a daycare center, community based residential facilities, and a four-bed crisis stabilization unit.

Some board members are skeptical about spending roughly $3 million on bridge housing units, which would hold 10 people at a time.

They feel that the cost of supplying temporary housing for so few people would be too high.

Supervisor Kim Cable, who works with the homeless, said this plan would be one part of a community solution.

“None of these things that we do as a community, and it takes more than just funding from the county, ” said Cable. “It takes getting landlords on board, and having reasonable rent prices that we can put people into units that they can afford.”

The cost of the Hillview project already had been reduced by letting the existing nursing home stay open.

Federal ARPA funding is being put toward the project. The county board could vote next week to seek bids on the project, with approval of a final plan to come at a later meeting.

Back in July, Klekamp described the Hillview transition in detail on La Crosse Talk PM.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. Mika

    September 12, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    Sounds like the government has made everything so expensive that they created the problem and now can’t even help solve it because it costs too much to buy property or build any kind of structure. Maybe if they would lower property taxes, and not have so many needless permits and housing codes, something could be built for a reasonable amount to shelter more people.

    They also sometimes want to purchase the most expensive properties downtown to be nearer to resources. That would be ideal for those ready to get back into the work force, but for those still struggling, wouldn’t it be smart to buy cheaper property outside of town, with fewer neighbors to object, and have daily bases or vans to get people to work, interviews and doctor appointments? Have groceries delivered, have some doctors make house calls to the residents? We need to get creative with a solution. Perhaps rent some land to build tiny houses, or rent buildings and offer incentives like a large reduction on taxes to the landowners.

  2. Mika

    September 12, 2023 at 6:16 pm


    Homeless shelters destroyed “to ensure the safety and welfare” of homeless people. North Las Vegas authorities demolished a community of tiny homes that sheltered the homeless because the 50-square-foot structures didn’t meet the minimum home size required by law or conform to other strict housing regulations. The situation showcases how government often thwarts private solutions to homelessness and poverty.

    The tiny homes were built on private property owned by the nonprofit New Leaf Building Community. New Leaf’s structures are small and basic, featuring four walls, one window, and a front door that locks. But despite their small size and lack of amenities, they could be life-changing for people previously living on the streets.


    Elvis Summers is not part of any nonprofit or government agency. He’s just a 38-year-old guy who started a GoFundMe campaign last spring so he could build tiny houses for homeless people to live in. So far Summer has given out 37 tiny 6- by 8-foot houses, which cost $1,200 each to build. They resemble sheds, painted in bright, solid colors, with solar panels on the roof, wheels to make them mobile and a portable camping toilet.

    But recently, city sanitation workers confiscated three of the houses from a sidewalk in South Los Angeles and tagged others for removal.

    “Unfortunately, these structures are a safety hazard,” says Connie Llanos, a spokeswoman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These structures, some of the materials that were found in some of them, just the thought of folks having some of these things in a space so small, so confined, without the proper insulation, it really does put their lives in danger.”

    Llanos says they’d be better off taking advantage of official resources like shelters or housing vouchers.

  3. Steven Bergsten

    September 13, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    Mayor Mitch Reynolds, Please ???????????? Please ???????????? Please ???????????? Do Something About The Large Homeless Population In LaCrosse Wisconsin, There Harassing Lot’s Of People!!! Thank You For Your Time

    • Yvonne

      September 18, 2023 at 3:24 pm

      I’ve written my ideas before but obviously no one read them or they don’t care. One of the hotels off I/90 Reynolds put the ‘homeless’ in last year is closing its doors, so why not buy & remodel those rooms for the homeless. It would be less expensive and the homeless don’t need a 400-500 Sq. ft tiny house. Many people in La Crosse live in smaller apts. Don’t take housing away from nursing home patients or seniors. And stop giving the druggies clean needles, if you are.

  4. Yvonne

    September 18, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    Is Brad Williams the only WRITER in La Crosse? I know there must be other writers as good as Williams.

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