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Update on county-city effort to end homelessness presented at Monday La Crosse County Board meeting



An update Monday on the city-county effort in La Crosse to end homelessness.

The “Pathways Home” plan was introduced six months ago with the goal to end homelessness within five years, or to get homelessness down to “functional zero” by that timeframe.

La Crosse area city and county leaders were told Monday at a county board meeting that some progress is being made but new efforts are in the works to find housing for an estimated 120 unsheltered in the city.

According to figures presented at the meeting 82 percent of homeless in the city did not move to La Crosse from somewhere else, but already lived in the area before they lost housing.

It was also announced that Jim Drees would be hired as a new project leader for homeless relief efforts. He is scheduled to arrive next week to coordinate service programs.

La Crosse County human services director Jason Witt reported that the strategic plan is not meant as an emergency remedy for homelessness.

Witt said there is “a sense of urgency” to the proposal, which could be put in place before the end of this year, to be followed by a long-term plan to provide more shelter and needed services.

La Crosse council member Mackenzie Mindel said she and other city leaders are feeling pressure to solve the homeless situation.

“In our roles, we have (heard) desperation from folks who are unsheltered,” Mindel said, “and we’re also getting desperation” from people who are sheltered.

A new housing initiative could be announced in October. Before then, however, another public information session is planned for July 22.

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. Rick Hamilton

    July 9, 2024 at 12:54 am

    One year ago there was an announcement that a 5 year plan to manage homelessness would be created. A 6 month planning session was used last fall to create the Pathways plan. Then we were told the first 6 months of the plan would be used to develop a data base of the actual homeless that would be shared with all agencies with an online program that would be used to eliminate duplication of homeless assistance thereby greatly becoming significantly more efficient in delivering services to the homeless. Now after a full year of suffering for the 200 plus unsheltered humans we have yet to see or hear any specific action plans. Just more language that we would see the shelter plan in the next six months. That would take us to January of 2025,and another winter of outside suffering by the 200 plus. We have seen numbers that about 10% of this group die each year. That is unacceptable. Perhaps

  2. walden

    July 9, 2024 at 12:20 pm

    Homeless Industrial Complex: “82% of the homeless are from La Crosse.” And none of them use drugs or alcohol or smoke cigareets either.

    And our trusty politicians put yet another “homeless coordinator” on the payroll. This one must be the chief to coordinate all the other coordinators.

    Next up in this absurd drama: The Homeless will circulate a petition to unionize and “fight” for Guaranteed Minimum Income, better living conditions and benefits.

  3. Roy

    July 11, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    The 15 page “Strategic Plan 2024-2029” handed out at the County Board meeting this week is a picture-book fluff piece with goal statements like:
    “Every member belongs and feels connected in our community.” Another-” In our community, everyone has access to an affordable home.” I would have added “All the children are above average” but, that’s already been taken The whole final product is quite silly, looking like a 10th grade class project where the teacher assigns students to “set pro-active goals for our town”.
    Largely the work of Board Chair Tina Tryggestad and her predecessor Monica Kruse, both big DEI advocates, the liberal fantasy pamphlet is a page-turner of high hopes and dreams that required hours and hours of meetings and wasted time..paid for by you.

    Liberals love to waste time this way, instead of facing truths and learning from people with opposing views. They hang around and text with like-minded associates, just as public school teachers usually chum around with other teachers, then claim to have taken input from the community.
    I’m not that worried, however. These projects inevitably end up filed away, largely unread, never to be considered again.

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