LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Area housing assistance agencies are proactively working to secure housing for those struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Wisconsin's eviction moratorium ended, giving landlords the opportunity to evict tenants. However, due to backlogs in the court system, that paperwork might not be processed just yet which is why agencies like the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative are getting out in front of the issue.
"Our hope is that anticipating maybe there would be a windfall of folks in June that may be in a position where they’re behind, we’ve been doing aggressive outreach to try and connect with those folks ahead of time," said Isaac Hoffman, director of the LCAFC.
Hoffman's team of three social workers help people connect with the right programs and assistance opportunities to acquire or continue having proper housing. The La Crosse Area Family Collaborative works with other organizations like Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, CouleeCap, The Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness, and others in what's called the 'No Wrong Door' Policy.
“There’s a lot of available help, especially right now, it seems at least locally there’s been a ton of support from local organizations," said Hoffman.
This group of organizations meets weekly to connect people to the right assistance for the situation. The collaboration allows organizations to maximize their funding and resources in helping people with rent, late fees, and sustainable housing.
"We have this system where somebody can approach any of the agencies listed on the poster. They will get essentially the same assessment and they’ll be placed on a list that’s prioritized for assistance," said Julie McDermid, project manager for The Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness.
Governor Tony Evers awarded $25 million for rental assistance programs throughout the state. CouleeCap is expected to receive that funding which estimated to be around $1 million. This funding comes in addition to grants and donations from the Franciscan Sisters, HUD, and other grant opportunities.
McDermid said it's like playing a game of JENGA in trying to make sure all of the funding goes to what exactly is needed with each funding opportunity having different requirements and fulfillment dates.
Having a 'No Wrong Door' Policy creates a central location for these local agencies so they get a full picture of the problem in La Crosse and Monroe Counties.
"We don’t want our clients to have to run around town and try to figure what each of our agencies does and how they could help and maybe have to go through application processes at multiple agencies,” said McDermid.
While their has been an increase in requests for housing assistance during this time according to McDermid, the proactive approaches being taken hope to quell any substantial stress on the system.
'No Wrong Door' Participating Agencies:
Catholic Charities (608)-519-8060, (608)-782-0710
New Horizons (608)-791-2610, (608)-791-2600
La Crosse Collaborative (608)-519-8009
The Salvation Army of La Crosse (608)-782-6126
YWCA of La Crosse (608)-304-7886
Independent Living Resources (608)-787-1111
Families First of Monroe County 608-374-4141
La Crosse Area Family Collaborative (608)792-1617