Contact: Kassidy Berens, Communications Manager
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2019
WISCAP URGES PASSAGE of the WISCONSIN OPPORTUNITY ACT
The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) applauds the introduction of the Wisconsin Opportunity Act (SB 467, AB 508) in the Wisconsin State Legislature. The proposal, authored by Senator LaTonya Johnson and Representative Lisa Subeck, advances comprehensive legislation designed to aid communities in the fight against poverty; calling for a renewed investment in housing, transportation, employment and business development training, and other services. The bill, currently co-sponsored by 24 members, was referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development and the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, respectively.
WISCAP sees this legislation as a necessary step to combat poverty statewide. The Institute for Research on Poverty reports that more than 1 in 10 Wisconsinites live in poverty, with the elderly representing the fastest growing segment of the population. In 2018, the Department of Public Instruction identified 18,854 homeless children and youth throughout the state. And, while unemployment remains low, housing costs have increased out of proportion to earnings. In fact, more than 306,000 people in 163,900 low-income households pay more than half their income for housing.
Community action agencies and their local partners throughout Wisconsin provide a wide range of programs and services that help individuals and families respond to crisis as well as achieve lasting economic security and self-sufficiency. If passed, this bill would help expand such outcomes. According to WISCAP Executive Director Brad Paul, “Whether we consider the impact of lagging wages, rising housing costs, the opioid crisis, or the downturn in the farm economy, both metro and small-town Wisconsin continue to face significant challenges and stress, even as major economic indicators are largely healthy. Senator Johnson and Representative Subeck are keenly aware of how poverty reveals itself in our communities and have offered an important response.”
If you would like more information on the proposed legislation or to schedule an interview, please contact Gary Goyke, Legislative Consultant, (608) 219-5237