La Crosse City Council to decide on Tomah VA transitional home this week

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- More than three months since the Tomah VA filed for a conditional use permit, the La Crosse City Council is set to give a final vote on Thursday.

The property in question is at 3120 Farnam Street, which is being donated to the Tomah VA by the Erickson family to be used for a transitional residence program.

"What it is are veterans that have been treated and for whatever reason had a stumble along the road. Have now received whatever kinds of support and resources they need and are ready now to re-establish back into the community like citizens, like all of us," said Tomah VA Director Victoria Brahm.

The idea has been met with push back by some neighbors of the southside residence.

Neighbors say they are concerned about safety, worried about a decrease in property value and want the neighborhood to remain residential, among other objections.

While this would be the first time the Tomah VA is using the program off-campus, officials say numerous other VA's across the country have had success in similar situations.

"I expected some push back, because the other homes across the country have also experienced that type of thing," said Brahm. "I understand, people don't know the programming, they don't know the veterans that would be in the programming. So I was hoping though with more information it would get better."

If approved, eight veterans would live in the house at a time for the duration of the program, which lasts around one year.

"I think we're going to have to reach out as much as the neighbors are willing. To have them meet the veterans, get to know the veterans, come over to the house. If it's a barbecue or whatever they're willing to do we're hoping to have those kinds of conversations," said Brahm.

If passed by the council Brahm says it would take a couple of months before any veterans move in.