Wisconsin GOP propose $3.7 million to combat homelessness

Published: Feb. 21, 2019 at 11:50 AM CST
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Assembly Republicans are proposing $3.7 million to combat homelessness in Wisconsin. The announcement, made at Porchlight's Men's Shelter in downtown Madison Thursday, detailed eight bills.

"It’s really a well-rounded package from all aspects to help those folks who are able and willing to get back on their feet," said Republican state Rep. Jon Plumer of Lodi.

Some Democrats complained that they weren't contacted to work with Republicans on the measures.

Democratic Rep. Lisa Subeck of Madison criticized Republicans for not including them in the process.

"If there was a genuine interest on the part of Republicans to move forward on homelessness, they would have come to Democrats. They would have come to folks like me who have worked in the homelessness field and who introduced bills," Subeck said.

Republicans hold majorities in the state Senate and Assembly. Bills fighting homelessness passed last session with bipartisan support.

Karla Thennes, the executive director of Porchlight, said their organization is the largest provider of affordable housing in Dane Co.

"I'm just really excited that we are finally focused on some increased dollars from anything from emergency shelters to permanent supportive housing," Thennes said.

The new GOP bills include spending $500,000 on a prevention program and creating a new $300,000 program to direct the homeless into stable housing.

Republicans also want to spend $500,000 more to bolster grants for shelters and add $900,000 annually to a housing assistance program.

Other measures are designed to help families find work and permanent housing and renovate apartments into affordable housing.