The state Assembly passes a package legislation Tuesday to fight homelessness.

Published: May. 2, 2017 at 7:37 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The state Assembly passes a package legislation Tuesday to fight homelessness.

There were a total of four bills related to homelessness passed by the Assembly. The bills had bipartisan support. Half of them passed unanimously.

One bill would create a new council to coordinate government and private efforts to address homelessness.A second bill would create a pilot program to prioritize chronically homeless people on the waiting list for federal housing vouchers.

Another proposal would free up more money for transitional housing statewide. And a fourth bill would make $75,000 available to one city for a pilot project to help the homeless find work.

Another measure passed by the Assembly related to homelessness would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to get jobs without a signed slip from a parent and without paying a $10 permit fee.

Republicans say these bills are a start to finding long term solutions for homeless people in both urban and rural communities.

"That's the ultimate goal. To get people back to work, get them independent, get them the help that they need, whether it's through mental health care or substance abuse programs. Whatever we need to do to get them back on their feet," Rep. Jim Steineke said.

Some Democrats say the bills do not do enough to provide resources to people who are facing homelessness and that the initiatives, specifically the pilot programs, will not help people fast enough.

"A task force with zero resources attached makes no sense. We can not wait for a task force or for a pilot program to work for them. What we need to be doing is we need to be putting housing first," Rep. Lisa Subeck said.

The package of bills addressing homelessness will head next to the Senate for a vote.