Collaborative to end homelessness targets new population

The La Crosse Collaborative to End Homelessness continues with its mission to house those who are chronically homeless.

But now they’re targeting a specific population.

Twice a year the collaborative works towards its mission to end homelessness by the end of each year.

Now, they’ve identified between 15 and 20 homeless families in the area.

Their goal is to secure housing for at least ten of those families by January 31st.

“They’re all folks that have crossed the doorstep of one of our agencies so they’re all definitely out there seeking help, they’re currently in shelters at the Salvation Army, or at New Horizons, some of them are in a motel that’s paid for by emergency assistance vouchers,” said Project Manager for the collaborative Julia McDermid.

McDermid says focusing on families should be considered a priority, because when children are involved in the cycle of homelessness, the impact is much bigger,

“So whether it’s you know their educational development, or whether it’s you know their emotional development, their social development, we know that it affects that.”

McDermid says area organizations like the Salvation Army play a key role in helping them meet their goal.

Salvation Army representatives say their family shelters are consistently full during the year and families tend to stay for an extended period of time.

So they’re hoping the collaborative’s new goal can get families out of the shelters and into permanent housing.

“When you’re talking about the difference between families and single individuals, we’re working to help build up more than just a single person, I mean we’re working with mom, dad, kids,” said Salvation Army Public Relations Coordinator Nick Ragner.

McDermid says the collaborative is gaining strong support from the community, city government and the police department.

She is also asking for the help of area landlords who are able to provide enough space for families at an affordable price.