La Crosse city and county officials discussed options for sheltering homeless people during the cold weather months at a meeting Monday.
Brian Sampson, the city’s homelessness coordinator, and La Crosse County human services director Jason Witt spoke with about 25 people during the group discussion.
Sampson said a severe weather site should be announced soon.
“For the severe weather events, we’ll have a location where people can go during the day to get out of the elements,” Sampson said, after a public discussion of homeless policies at the Main in La Crosse. “We’re finalizing the details on that plan, and we’ll be sharing that once a location and staffing and all that stuff is known.”
For part of last winter, the southside neighborhood center was used as an emergency shelter when temperatures dropped below zero.
At last count, 114 people in La Crosse were unsheltered.
There are no plans to send homeless to hotels. That was done two years ago because COVID-19 caused shelters to run at minimal capacity, so space was limited.
The city and county announced last summer that they’re working on a five-year plan to find local solutions with the end goal of getting homelessness down to functional zero.
“We’ve started that process in September,” Sampson said, “as far as community planning with the goal of having a five-year plan to end homelessness completed by the end of 2023 and then to begin implementation. So we’re just sharing about what that process looks like.”
The REACH Services and Resource Center, at the YWCA in La Crosse, is available to connect families to housing and other services they made need.
“The plan will look like it did last winter,” Sampson said. “So, there’s a team at the REACH Center that’s available for families and individuals. If they want to get connected to case management services, that’s every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Obviously the REACH Center can help you get connected to services at any point, but that’s specifically, multiple agencies that are there.”