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As I See It

Supreme Court ruling provides little help in solving homeless crisis



Will a Supreme Court decision impact La Crosse’s efforts to deal with its homeless population? The nation’s highest court last week ruled that cities have the authority to clear out homeless encampments, even if those living there have nowhere else to go. La Crosse has a long list of places where the homeless are not allowed, including parks, ramps, and other city properties. City Hall cleared the homeless out of Houska and Cameron parks, as well as in the River Point district. The court’s ruling bolsters La Crosse’s handling of the homeless, making it perfectly legal to force the unsheltered to leave, even if they have nowhere else to go. La Crosse is under a self-imposed deadline to come up with a plan for dealing with the homeless, but it remains unclear just what that would be. The city continues to tell the homeless where they can’t go, but not where they can go. This problem is hardly unique to La Crosse. It is estimated that on any given night, there are more than 650,000 people living on the streets in the U.S. This ruling won’t change that. It just allows cities like La Crosse to force those living on the street to pack up their possessions and move once again. That does nothing to reduce the homeless problem.

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. Roy

    July 1, 2024 at 6:11 am

    The majority of these “homeless”, as they are so gently referred, are long-term drug addicts. The most important daily goal of an addict is their next drug, not an apartment, new clothes or even food. To continue to attempt to solve this scourge on La Crosse by finding them “shelter” is to avoid the real problem and enable their deadly habit. Helping them hurts them and is often done in an act of self-fulfillment or “virtue-signaling” as it’s called these days.
    To do what’s best for them means to be firm and let them hit bottom. Only then will they seek the direction necessary for their recovery. Liberal’s attempts to “fix” them results in a deepening addiction and often death for the sick addict, which most of these poor souls are.

  2. Bob N.

    July 1, 2024 at 7:32 am

    Mr. Shaw can be a slow learner. He seems preoccupied with finding ” a place for the homeless to go.” The Mayor, after pledging to solve the homeless problem 3 years ago, thought the same way. So, he shipped the homeless off to Houska Park. Voila! The vagrants are now out of downtown, off the beaten path, Gunderson doctors can give them shots, we can feed them, the police chief who wanted them all in one place gets his way, problem solved. It was solved so good that dozens and dozens of vagrants from elsewhere came to La Crosse for the goodies. (Many of them have cell phones, you know).
    A murder occurred at Houska, police were called there nearly daily, drug use flourished, the helpless souls ripped up the park causing over a hundred thousand dollars in damages and the City, who invited the homeless to Houska now ordered them out.
    With this Supreme Court ruling, municipalities can now stop trying to enable these losers and simply order them out. The addicts can then do what recovered addicts do-straighten up and become useful citizens. Let them recover on their own. Some arrests would help. Addicts are terrified of jails since they can’t use drugs there.

    • The Dude

      July 1, 2024 at 11:00 am

      Purchase the United Methodist church on King Street and house the un shelterd there, make certain you contact the mayor and city council to promote this.

    • walden

      July 1, 2024 at 3:25 pm

      “Solving” indeed. No such thing. The Council and County Board says just keep giving more money. Just one more subsidized apartment building, just one more strategy meeting, just one more grant, just one more donation, just another tax increase.

      Over 300,000 dead from drugs on Biden’s watch.

      The mayor now has run out of excuses. Every solution has been a failure and debacle. It’s .gov at its finest.

      Help the very few who want help and send the rest back to wherever they came from. Sooner the better before downtown is a total loss.

  3. The Dude

    July 1, 2024 at 10:43 am

    Here’s a novel approach. There is a United Methodist Church for sale next to the new CCF bank. Move the homeless there. A great place to house them. There are plenty of streets and sidewalks to walk on for their daily activities.

    Community members in the neighborhood will be more than welcoming and can assist in providing a hand up for these individuals. That area is full of people that are willing to reach out and become part of the solution verses complaining about the courts decision.

    Time to start attending city council meetings and recommending they purchase this building to house the unsheltered. Let’s start a grass roots movement and start putting out the word,

    Mayor Reynolds …purchase the United Methodist Church on King street to house the unsheltered…buy it now

  4. walden

    July 1, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    Cost to purchase, maintain, operate, feed them, police, social workers, decline in area property values, etc. etc. ?

    Especially the maintenance expense given what has happened to every other property used to house them.

  5. Greg Symons

    July 3, 2024 at 6:05 am

    The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The so-called “Homeless Crisis” will never be solved until those involved are held to the same rules and standards as everyone else. I’m sure there are laws against vagrancy on the books in LaCrosse that aren’t being enforced. They say so many of these unsheltered just want to be “invisible” and left alone, but they create such turmoil and destroy so much that costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without law and order in a society we have anarchy and in this case the inmates are running and ruining the asylum.

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