La Crosse Homeless Coalition discusses growing problem - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse Homeless Coalition discusses growing problem

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LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—On any given day in the United States there are 800,000 homeless people.

The Wisconsin Division of Housing said over the last few years the number of homeless people have been declining across the country, but in the Coulee Region, those numbers have been on the rise.

The La Crosse Homeless Coalition said the Coulee Regions rising homelessness is concerning.

"As other parts of the nation are recovering more quickly from the great recession that we seem to be not doing as well in Wisconsin," Rep. Jill Billings, (D) WI 95th Assembly said.

Part of the problem is less funding for assisting people in need.

"From 2009 to 2011 we had a huge influx of money during the recovery phase, from the Federal Government," Kim Cable, Community Services Director, Coulee Cap said.  "To help people prevent homelessness so we were able to do things like preventing eviction, getting people into housing quickly and that money ran out in 2011."

Now, agencies are struggling to find ways to provide those same resources to people in need.  Mayor Tim Kabat said the answer has to come from a combination of federal, state and local help.

"The local level we can do more to create good paying jobs," Kabat said. "Work with our business community."

"We're still 44th in job growth so we really need to target creating jobs and making sure people who want to work are able," Billings said.

Cable said another problem is lack of affordable housing.

"By that I mean housing that is based on people's income," Cable said. "The affordable housing formula that we use is we don't want to see people paying more than 30-percent of their income to housing."

Finally, she said we need to provide people with mental health treatment so they can maintain a steady job and housing to stay on their feet and out of shelters.

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