The state legislature has taken steps to address the state’s significant homeless shelter recently.
State Representative Gary Tauchen says they’ve passed a number of bills to help the more than 27,000 homeless people in the state.
“We passed a package of bills with bi-partisan support that help create a couple of programs,” he said. “One, to help move more families and individuals off the waiting list for housing assistance and another to help connect homeless adults to permanent employment.”
A third bill makes reforms to the distribution of assistance funds to areas based on need and gives greater flexibilities ensuring that the housing grants go to programs that work.
Tauchen adds that in order to coordinate these services, an interagency council on homelessness was created.
“Advocates and different groups that help the homeless say that these bills are a good change and a good first step,” Tauchen said.
Ultimately, the state legislature is trying to figure out different ways to help the homeless while recognizing the problems when it comes to jobs and unemployment.
“With our unemployment rate at 3.1 percent, we need to have people working,” Tauchen explained. “The goal is to provide pathways for Wisconsin’s homeless population to be more productive and become contributing members to our communities.”
Research suggests poverty rate numbers are at some of their lowest and it’s the job of lawmakers to ensure the homeless population has an opportunity at jobs.