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As I See It

La Crosse faces deadline for addressing homelessness



The city of La Crosse has issued itself quite a challenge, hoping to do in just three weeks what it hasn’t been able to do in more than three years. A city committee has directed City Hall department heads to come up with a plan to address the city’s homelessness problem within the next three weeks. That is an ambitious goal, one the city is rightfully prioritizing. Something needs to be done, but what? Council members admit they aren’t interested in trying to repeat its past efforts, such as housing them in a city park, or renting out a hotel for the unsheltered to stay. So Houska is out, as is Cameron Park, or renting hotel space. What does that leave as options? Where could they be located so they are not harassing others or be a blight on the downtown? It seems La Crosse has tried just about everything. There is no shortage of people and groups trying to help, but the fact is everything the city has tried has largely failed. It is not clear what options haven’t been considered. Let’s hope we find out in just a few weeks.

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. nick

    June 19, 2024 at 5:10 am

    Total, absolute waste of time and in the end money.
    Conduct a survey like California did and find more than want to be homeless.
    I have said this in the past. California spent an enormous amount of money over four years and had more homeless than when they started.
    Give up the pipe dream.

  2. Kent Porter

    June 19, 2024 at 6:11 am

    Lock them up

  3. R Head

    June 19, 2024 at 8:07 am

    La Crosse has no plans. Throw some more money at the problem. The haven’t had the testicular fortitude to do anything. Liberals have no new ideas just a rehash of the same old crap.

  4. Walden

    June 19, 2024 at 9:09 am

    Note that “solving” is never defined. Solving to most people would mean the homeless are gone. Solving to the folks employed by the Homeless Industrial Complex and evergreen liberals on the City Council just means “what can we do to help” (that is, enable) the homeless so the problem is perpetuated and the problem and the HIC budget just gets larger and larger and employs more people at taxpayer expense.

    The presence of these people are a health, safety, petty and violent crime, drug, prostitution, and business problem for the City. Downtown is but a shadow of itself only 5 years ago. Be gone with them.

  5. Come On Man

    June 19, 2024 at 11:41 am

    I thought we covered this subject 2 days ago. (Brad Williams Article)
    I’m confused.
    The Fire and Police chiefs run their own departments and now have to come up with ideas with what to do with the homeless population?
    Why the hell are we paying the city appointed homeless coordinator? Is that not his entire job?
    If he is not doing his job maybe he should be replaced with someone who can shed light on this issue with new ideas and solutions. If a city employee is not living up to their expectations then they should terminated. Let’s not kick this can down the road again and expect other city department heads who have their own departments to run try and solve the homeless crisis. This is not a plan for success.
    Why is the media not asking the Mayor what is the homeless coordinator doing about the situation?
    The Mayor has been extremely quiet about this issue.
    I heard the Fire Department was given orders by city hall to remove the homeless from the riverfront property! Why the heck was it there job to do this?
    When the homeless coordinator is not busy, is it his job to figure out how the other city department heads can save money within their respective departments?
    “Lucy, you got some splainin to do”

  6. The Dude

    June 19, 2024 at 11:51 am

    Interesting when we go to other Wisconsin cities (Platteville, Arcadia, Chippewa falls, Burlington, Onalaska, Sparta, etc) they do not have a homeless problem. Lacrosse even takes it to another level and states that homeless is no longer a correct term. We need to call them “unsheltered” to give them dignity. These folks do not even respect themselves.

    By placing any label whether its Homeless or Un Sheltered, they are the same people. No matter what we call them they are not the people that contribute to the betterment of our cities, communities, and the safety of our children/families.

    It may be time to enforce the laws and ordinances already in place. There are maybe 100 to 150 people that are not being compliant. (Loitering, public intoxication, lewd and lascivious behavior, urinating in public, pan handling, etc)

    If we had 100 individuals that did the same illegal thing day after day we would not tolerate it. Change the word homeless to red light runner. If there are 100 people that continually break the law and run red lights day-after-day, the law would be enforced. Or as simple as parking in a handy cap zone and the same 100 people continued to do it illegally, the law would be enforced.

    All of us that drive vehicles know that when there is a speed trap set up and officers are enforcing the laws, we all be come compliant and follow the law. Funny how when the expectation is put out there people know what to do.

    Stop this madnesss. When you put out sugar…you can be assured to attrack the rest of the colony

  7. LG

    June 20, 2024 at 8:57 am

    This is just one more attempt to “solve,” however defined, the problems of individuals with a government run solution. The solution for homelessness is work, living on less than you earn, avoid creating a legal history for yourself, avoid creating a record of evictions, pay all your bills, avoid drug use, be responsible, shower daily, and most important of all, always have an emergency fund to pay your expenses in the event of job loss. Now, how is the city supposed to force homeless people to do all of that. Homelessness is a series of Poor choices and city leaders cannot change that no matter how much money they throw at the problem.

  8. Kent Porter Mayor of the Northside

    June 21, 2024 at 6:46 am


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