Street Pulse, Wisconsin’s Homeless/Marginalized Newspaper, recently reported exciting news surrounding Governor Walker’s 2017-2019 Executive Budget: the proposed state budget will include major funding and program developments that will directly impact, and possibly improve, homelessness and housing scarcity in Wisconsin (Street Pulse).
As the article in the March 2017 issue shares, for the first time in 25 years there will be an increase in funding directed towards fighting homelessness.
Highlights of the budget include:
- $500,000 per year in TANF funds for intensive case management services for homeless families within homeless shelters – services will focus on financial counseling, school enrollment, professional networking, and enrollment for unemployed or underemployed individuals in W2 or FSET programs
- Piloting of prioritization of Housing Choice Vouchers for the chronically homeless – pilot program will give priority for housing vouchers to individuals who are deemed chronically homeless, hopefully curbing homelessness rates
- $660,800 yearly expansion of Open Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS) to five additional counties – program focuses on serving mentally ill patients following release from prison so they may more easily adapt to life after serving sentences, thus decreasing risk for homelessness
- Provide $75,000 in funds for pilot homeless employment program based on Albuquerque’s “Better Way” initiative – pilot will provide homeless individuals with work experience and routine through municipal jobs like park maintenance
- Mend Wisconsin’s transitional housing statute – remedy will ease the process of granting funds to support homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing
- Create Homeless Services Coordinator position within the Department of Health Services – Coordinator will work with homeless agencies and municipalities to develop a waiver program for homeless housing transition; waiver program will support housing searches, tenant training, and appropriate documentation so as to ensure successful housing placement for homeless individuals
These proposed tenants of the new 2017-2019 budget provide a stronger support system for homeless individuals and those grappling with the housing epidemic currently occurring in America. Furthermore, this framework allows for a wider safety net for those facing eviction in the state of Wisconsin, like those Matthew Desmond worked with in Milwaukee.
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To learn more about Street Pulse newspaper and it’s unique approach to combating homelessness in Madison, check out this article by the Isthmus.