La Crosse development grants go to child care, homelessness

Child Care
(U.S. Food and Drug Administration Photo)

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The La Crosse Community Development Committee approved $77,500 in grant requests Thursday to support child care centers and in-home family providers, as well as $262,500 to address homelessness.
The grant amounts include $80,000 each to Couleecap’s Rapid Rehousing Program and to Catholic Charities COVID-19 Homeless Casework.
Other amounts include:
• $73,758 for Independent Living Resources’ homelessness outreach
• $15,000 for YMCA School Age Programs
• Amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 for various day-care and child-care centers.
The full list of grants and amounts are on the city’s website. 
The $340,000 total in grants came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through the federal Housing and Urban Development Department.
The city decided to prioritize homelessness and child care during COVID-19 to ensure that its homeless population can be placed in safe housing instead of on the streets and to support the local economy by keeping day-care centers open to ensure that medical workers and others can still go to work.
Child care centers reported losing hundreds of thousands of dollar in income because of COVID-19, which put them at risk of shutting their doors permanently, said Caroline Gregerson, the city’s community development administrator.
There already was a child care crisis in the La Crosse area, with 75% or more of parents reporting trouble finding child care, she said.
COVID-19 has worsened the issue, she said, adding, “We are proud that we could help 12 day care centers with grants to ensure that parents, who serve critical functions in our local economy and in our COVID-19 response can continue to work.
“At the same time, people are more at risk of homelessness than ever before, and the safest place to be right now, is in your home,” Gregerson said. “That’s why we are also thrilled we can continue to combat homelessness by funding four homeless organizations.”