For the past year, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) have spearheaded an effort to help address the issue of homelessness in Wisconsin.
On Monday, the governor signed two bills that arose from those efforts. AB 234 creates an Interagency Council on Homelessness. This council is required to meet quarterly and would report to the governor and legislature. Advocates fighting homelessness believe the creation of Interagency Council will result in a greater focus on the issues homeless families face while providing tools through the various agencies to help address these problems.
AB 236 authorizes the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to develop policies and procedures to implement a two-year pilot program giving priority to chronically homeless applicants on the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list.
These bills come on the heels of a number of funding measures that were recently approved by the Joint Finance Committee, marking the first time in many years that the legislature made serious advancements toward addressing the problem of homelessness in Wisconsin.