MADISON, WI -- Gov. Tony Evers today announced the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), which is chaired by the governor, has unanimously adopted and released their “Welcoming Wisconsin Home” report which provides new recommendations for tackling homelessness in the state of Wisconsin.
“Having safe, stable housing is the first step of not only keeping our neighbors safe and healthy but is also key in ensuring our state's continued economic recovery, strengthening our communities, and ensuring kids, families, and workers can be successful,” said Gov. Evers. “We must make strategic investments and work together to build the sort of future we want for our communities and our state, and these recommendations will work to make that future a reality.”
The “Welcoming Wisconsin Home” report outlines the current state of homelessness in Wisconsin, the ways that the pandemic has brought about new challenges and exacerbated long-standing challenges, and steps that the Evers Administration has already taken to address housing availability and affordability, as well as financial stability and economic recovery for Wisconsin residents, including support for rent, utility, and broadband assistance.
“Too many Wisconsinites live with the threat of homelessness daily,” said ICH Director Michael Basford. “We must face the challenges of homelessness head-on, and this report outlines our current reality as well as clear steps we can follow to make a difference.”
Recommendations and strategies to address homelessness include:
- Creating a permanent rental assistance program for veterans;
- Focusing on equity for renters and home owners who have faced historic disadvantages;
- Improving housing access for people experiencing homelessness;
- Providing additional support to landlords to repair affordable housing units;
- Increasing the state Housing Tax Credit Program;
- Increasing housing stability with targeted support services; and
- Collecting data about the pandemic impact and outline recommendations for future pandemics.
More information is available on the Interagency Council on Homelessness website here.
The “Welcoming Wisconsin Home” report builds on the governor's investments, announced late last year, to provide $6 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address homelessness and ensure safe shelter for individuals experiencing short or long-term housing instability during the winter months. Through this investment, $4 million was made available through the State Shelter Subsidy Grant Program, which provides funding to shelter facilities, and another $2 million will be allocated to funding for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF).