Wisconsin Democrat Criticizes GOP Bill Package To Address Homelessness

Assembly Majority Leader: Bills Are A 'Starting Point'

Person sleeping on the sidewalk
Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Another state Democrat is criticizing a Republican-backed bill package aimed at addressing homelessness in Wisconsin.

The package consists of four bills.

  • The first would create an interagency council to coordinate efforts between several state agencies that provide services to the homeless.
  • A second bill would start a $75,000 grant program to provide homeless individuals with jobs cleaning up parks and other public spaces. Under the bill, municipalities chosen for grant funding would have to provide at least $50,000 to the program.
  • Another would reshape state housing funding by freeing up money reserved for transitional housing to be used with other housing models, like Rapid Rehousing or Housing First.
  • A final bill would let the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority pilot a program to prioritize chronically homeless individuals on the waitlist for Section 8 housing.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, told WPR on Monday that the bills from state Republicans are a “Band-Aid” to Wisconsin’s problem with homelessness.

“What we’re looking at is a scenario that people cannot afford the housing,” Subeck said. “So you have two choices: you help bring wages up or you help bring housing costs down, and without doing one or both of those two things, we will not solve our problem with homelessness.”

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, is the author of the bill to create an Interagency Council on Homelessness. He said the bills aren’t a “silver bullet,” but said he thinks they’re a good “starting point.”

He said Republicans are focused on getting Wisconsinites training that will get them into higher paying jobs, not “artificially raising wages.”

Related Stories