Volunteers take to the streets in hopes of helping La Crosse’s homeless

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- Local community members are taking to the streets in an effort to end homelessness.

Twice a year in La Crosse, the Couleecap Inc. does a Point-in-Time Count event to find out who needs shelter in the community.

Before there’s a light in the sky, volunteers go out in hopes of helping those who don’t have a roof over their heads.

“When I was young, I was naive and I didn’t realize the sheer number of people who are staying outside,” said Daniella Fohr, a volunteer and The Salvation Army of La Crosse County’s lead case manager, .

Fohr has been volunteering for four years and says waking up early to do the Point-in-Time Count is worth it because it’s the only way homelessness is going to end.

“It’s important to bring it to the communities attention because in order to end homelessness for people who are experiencing it we need everyone in the community to help,” said Fohr.

Volunteers split up into teams and went all around La Crosse searching at parks, parking ramps, and even all around downtown in hopes of getting a tally on the homeless in the community.

“When agencies are applying for funding or when the state is looking for different ways to use funding that they’ve received, this is demonstrating a need to where some of that can go,” said Becky Koske, Couleecap’s assistant housing director who coordinated the Point-in-Time Count.

She’s been helping for eight years and says the data that they collect will help with gathering funding to get the homeless some shelter.

“There’s always been a need in this community to help people who are unsheltered and to be able to provide some services and resources for them so that’s really the goal of what we want to do,” said Koske.

The Point in time count may not make an immediate impact on those who need it, but organizers of the event say it’s one of the best things they can do.

Couleecap leaders say that they’ll have official numbers of the count sometime in the coming days.

More data gathered from long-term research will be released in three to four weeks.