Madison - In 2016, the Federal Housing Administration estimated that at any given time there are approximately 5,685 citizens in Wisconsin who are experiencing homelessness.
On Wednesday, State Senator Alberta Darling unveiled four bills with the Assembly GOP to help get the homeless off the street and onto a pathway of success. Senator Darling says the homeless crisis can't be solved with just shelters.
"Providing a place to sleep doesn't go far enough to address the problems facing many Wisconsin families," Darling says, "Our goal is to streamline and simplify the process to make sure people get the services they need to get off the streets and not go back."
The four bills are based on existing successful programs and creating new partnerships among agencies, nonprofits, and municipalities:
- "Better Way" Initiative - Based on the program of the same name in Albuquerque, New Mexico, creates grant program to move homeless people to permanent jobs.
- WHEDA Wait list Reform - Creates a two-year pilot program to prioritize help for chronically homeless on the waiting list for the Federal Housing Choice Voucher Program.
- Housing Grant Reform - Streamlines housing grants to ensure money is spent efficiently and where it is needed most.
- Inter-agency Council on Homelessness - Creates a council to review and update statewide policies to better coordinate efforts to fight homelessness.
Right now, there are many agencies trying to fight homelessness," Darling said, "Our goal is to focus on collaboration and flexibility to create a collaborated effort to end and prevent homelessness."
Senator Darling represents portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties.