Salvation Army starts new program to help fight homelessness

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An area organization is trying to keep people off the streets, and in a home.

The Salvation Army of La Crosse has launched its Eviction Diversion program Tuesday.

It hopes a new program will be one step towards preventing homelessness.

The Eviction Diverson program helps those who have not received an eviction notice, and can commit for at least 90 days.

Outreach case manager Tennille Spears said there are plenty of benefits to the program.

“Keeping the individuals and the families in their home, preventing evictions, preventing homelessness and being able to become more self-sufficient and independent,” said Spears.

Participants will work with Spears to come up with a plan, which includes intensive home-based case management.

The program will also help free up space at its emergency shelter.

The Salvation Army's shelter holds 80 people.

On average, the number of people staying there is in the low to mid 70s.

Bremer Bank president and Salvation Army board member Dale Walter said the program is being funded by a one year, $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

“We really saw a need for the homeless population in our area, and the Otto Bremer Foundation one of their things where they want to support is the basic needs in our community,” said Walter.

La Crosse City Council woman Audrey Kader who serves on the Housing Authority said her district faces a lot challenges with rental properties.

“I have never actually witnessed an eviction, but I've witnessed an awful lot of bad behavior, and it goes on the part of some landlords and the part of the tenants,” said Kader.

The program is currently accepting referrals, which you can make yourself, or they can be done by a landlord, case manager or social service agency.

If you're interested in participating in the eviction diversion program, contact the Salvation Army of La Crosse at 608-782-6126.

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