Assembly Republicans have introduced a package of legislation aimed at keeping people housed. It would double annual state funding for direct housing assistance, adding about $4 million. Karla Thennes, executive director for Porchlight in Madison, says they’d like to attain “functional zero” on homelessness.
“That doesn’t mean that no one will ever become homeless. What it means is that our system will be the right size to adequately address homelessness when it does occur,” Thennes said. “We have to do everything that we can to keep families housed, so that our time and resources can be utilized for those sleeping in emergency shelters, and sleeping on the streets.”
The Madison press conference was held at Porchlight’s men’s shelter at Grace Episcopal Church, directly across the street from the Capitol. There were no Democrats in attendance to discuss what Representative Jon Plumer called a bipartisan issue. “The Republicans have spent a lot of the last year working on this topic,” Plumer. “I would love to have someone here, but I will tell you it is a bipartisan issue.”
Governor Tony Evers has appointed himself to lead the state’s panel on homelessness, replacing former lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch.