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Evers calls on budget committee to meet on homelessness

December 16, 2019 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers took the unusual step Monday of calling on the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee to meet this week and approve funding to combat homelessness.

Evers sent the committee co-chairs a letter calling on them to convene the meeting on Thursday, saying there is a “great urgency and real need” to approve the homelessness funding given the onset of winter.

But committee co-chairs Rep. John Nygren, of Marinette, and Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills, responded to Evers that they will not meet Thursday as he requested. The Republican lawmakers said they already were working with the Department of Administration to schedule a quarterly meeting in early January.

“Your letter today is an unfortunate step in the opposite direction,” Nygren and Darling said.

The Assembly, on bipartisan votes, passed a package of bills to combat homelessness earlier this year. But senators wary of spending any money have blocked their passage there.

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Evers’ administration first requested the roughly $3.7 million in funding for this year and next in July. The proposals would enact recommendations of a state panel that examined homelessness in Wisconsin, a first-of-its kind group in the state created last year as part of a previous effort to address the problem.

The money would go toward efforts to prevent homelessness, get the homeless into more stable housing and bolster grants for homeless shelters.