La Crosse aims to secure housing for “tent city” dwellers

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La Crosse – A coalition team in La Crosse is working to move the homeless population living in “tent city” along the Mississippi river, into secure housing by May 31.

The lofty goal is one that has been in place for over a year, when the city took on an initiative to end homelessness, specifically targeting the veteran population.

The La Crosse Tribune reports

Brian Johnson, surrounded by more than a dozen bicycles in various states of repair — and disrepair — labored to put a front fender on one in what he said is his push to leave the encampment of homeless people on the north end of Riverside Park in La Crosse.

“I’m getting ready to move,” the 39-year-old Johnson said during an interview Thursday, spreading his arms at the dozens of bicycle tires and parts in his Tent City digs. “The end game is to be able to give a kid a bike.”

The end game for a coalition that includes the city of La Crosse and several agencies is to secure housing for Johnson and about 15 others spread throughout the wooded area along the Mississippi River and “end dangerous tent living in the area of Riverside North” by May 31, members say.

The initiative is an extension of last year’s efforts of the La Crosse Collaborative to End Homelessness to end veteran homelessness before Christmas — an undertaking that included city of La Crosse staffers and was largely successful with the placement of 16 veterans, although Marine veteran Johnson eluded that wave.

For more, visit La Crosse Tribune