LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The Salvation Army launched a new effort to combat homelessness.
It's the eviction diversion program and it's funded by a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. Tennille Spears will head up the program.
"The goal is to keep individuals in their homes, to prevent a small crisis from turning in to something big," Spears said.
The hope is also to take pressure of shelters, like the one at The Salvation Army. Currently the shelter has nearly 70 occupants, including almost 20 children.
The eviction diversion program is for those facing financial hardships and in danger of losing their home, though they cannot have received an eviction notice yet. Spears says the program won't simply pay a person' rent, but instead will work with participants to find available resources.
"It's more learning them self sufficiency skills and how to go out there and get the resources on their own," Spears said. "I will let them know where they are, it will be their responsibility to utilize them."
City Council member Audrey Kader, district 11, says she sees the need for this program in her district.
"It's something that we can hope to see that the tenets being helped, not only in the short term but educated for the long term," Kader said.
Spears says she's excited about managing the program because it's something she could have used at one point in her life.
"If I would have known some of the resources were out there, as a single parent, this would have been a great tool and a great program to utilize," Spears said. "And I know that there are a lot of individuals out there that just need a little help to get to where they ant to be."
Spears will work with between 10 and 12 people at a time for a minimum of 90 days. She will follow up with those who complete the program to see if they are successful in maintaining housing.
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