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Assembly Republicans announce steps to combat homelessness in the Chippewa Valley

Eau Claire (WQOW) – Discussions of how to address homelessness across the state, and here in the Chippewa Valley, continued Thursday as Chippewa Valley Republicans introduced their next step to help combat homelessness.

“We really need to have people be successful, I think that’s important, success is great, but at times you need a helping hand,” said Rep. Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi).

Thursday, local Assembly Republicans showcased a series of bills they call “A Hand For The Homeless”, which would split $500,000 annually, across the state for housing needs.

“We take a chronically homeless individual and we place them first into housing, then we offer them a plethora of services to meet their needs,” said Jeanne Semb, housing services director for Western Dairyland.

Semb told News 18 if these bills pass, Western Dairyland and their partners could do more for the homeless in the Chippewa Valley.

“Any increase to what we currently have is going to be helpful. We just have so many people that we aren’t able to serve because there’s not enough services in our area,” added Semb. “Even if we’re going to get a portion of some of that money, I think it’s going to be helpful to get these homeless housed.”

Representatives believe having stable housing could lead to success down the road for individuals helped by this funding.

“We’re facing record low unemployment, and there are a record number of jobs available in the state. So, from a perspective of my chair, which is workforce development, I look at this as another step to putting people to work,” said Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva).

Even though “A Hand For Homeless” is a Republican-authored proposal, Rep. Pronschinske hopes for bi-partisan co-sponsors.

News 18 spoke with Democratic Representative Jodi Emerson for her take on the proposed bills. She said her Republican counterparts seem to be trying to address issues that are usually part of Democrats’ platforms.

Emerson also said she supports tackling homelessness. However, she said if the Republicans wanted bi-partisan support, they should have had bi-partisan bills from day one, and held a press conference together.

Samantha Wensel

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