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Finance committee to consider expanding homeless grants

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s finance committee is poised this week to consider dramatically expanding grants to help the homeless.

The Republican-controlled committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider authorizing provisions in the 2021-23 state budget that would pump $12.6 million into the Department of Administration’s Shelter for Homeless and Housing Grants program over the biennium. The program got about $2 million in 2020-21.

The move would provide an additional $10 million over the biennium to a subprogram that provides grants to to local governments and organizations to run housing and support services for the homeless.

The program’s current funding is enough to serve about 1,000 people in 22 counties annually, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The additional dollars would allow the program to serve another 16,500 people across all 72 counties.

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The budget would provide an additional $700,000 annually for a program that subsidizes shelters run by local governments, tribes and organizations. The program currently hands out about $1.6 million annually.

The committee could vote to approve the plan as written, reduce funding for the grants to take no action.

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