(Beaver Dam) Funding for initiatives that address homelessness in Wisconsin may be revisited before the end of winter. Democratic members of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee sent a letter to the panel’s Republican co-chairs requesting they meet last week to release the funding. In addition, the governor asked Joint Finance to meet and release the funding – for things like housing grants, homeless shelters and caseworkers. The co-chairs generally set the agenda and did not go along with the governor’s request.
State Representative Mark Born, who is a member of Joint Finance, says -in the budget- money was put into the Joint Finance Committee’s reserves so that the homeless programs could be funded in the future.
The Beaver Dam Republican says there was no way to honor the governor’s request.
“Since we’re still working through the process and trying to find compromise with our colleagues in the other house,” he says, “that was not an action we were interested in taking up in [Joint Finance].”
Born says it was expected by Joint Finance that any related bills would work their way through the traditional legislative process. The bills moved out of the Assembly and are being taken up in Senate committees. Born is hopeful the matter will advance to the upper chamber in January.
“That’s the legislative process, it has to pass both houses.”
Born says the administration currently has $3-million dollars to support programs for the homeless.
“Certainly, folks should not believe for a second that there is no ability for government to help,” he says adding, “these are some good expansions of good programs and some good new programs that I would like to see get moving at some point.”
The funding request came from a task force chaired by former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and was approved as part of the two-year state budget.