Local groups gather to help homeless - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Local groups gather to help homeless

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Project Homeless Connect is an annual day geared toward assisting those in need.

Community services and volunteers gathered at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, and those who attended could get a hot meal, a haircut and find out about resources to help them get back on their feet.

Emmie Curran has been homeless since August of 2013.

"With the economy we all are struggling with finding a job," Emmie said.

She went to Project homeless connect to get a hair cut, something to eat and explore the resources that might help her get off the streets. Emmie's position is one Jeff Cooper found himself in four years ago.

"I lost my place four years ago," Jeff said. "Lost my job, lost all my friends."

Jeff says he found La Crosse has a network of services for the homeless, like Couleecap's Housing First Program.

"The first process is getting them in to an apartment," said Becky Koske, Jeff's case manager at Housing First. "And then is about assessment, helping them set up goals, what would they like to accomplish?"

"When I met Becky, I just knew it was going to be the start of hope," Jeff said. "And I didn't have hope before that. And it changed my life."

Now Jeff has an apartment and is starting classes in April.

"I know where I want to be, and that's back to college," Jeff said. "Even at my age."

Becky says homelessness is a problem that effects people from all walks of life.

"There is no one face of homelessness," Becky said.  "Some have master's degrees, some had jobs for 30 years and due to an injury can't work there anymore."

Emmie is still working to get back on her feet, but she says she's setting goals for herself.

"[I want to] at least have a job and have my own place," Emmie said. "That's all I ask for. A job mostly."

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