Decades before the terms "homeless" or "street people " came into popular jargon, there were people in La Crosse --and throughout the country--who had no place to live.
Children were "parceled out" to relatives, sometimes in different cities. Parents stayed wherever they could find a room to rent or with relatives who might already be taking in others.
The search for housing often took months, even years. When found, accommodations were substandard even by early standards. Most pressing was the plight of veterans after World War II.
These heros came home to parades but no place to hang their hats. Eager to resume their lives, they found themselves crowded into homes owned by their in-laws, often staying on the living room couch. Two and three families shared a singles house. With such a lack of privacy, it is a wonder America had a baby boom.
It is into this atmosphere that the La Crosse Housing Authority --the sixth in the state-- was born in 1946 to solve the problem of veterans, poor families and later still the elderly. Over half a century, the Authority went from an agency viewed with skepticism at best--even suspected of socialist or communist leanings--to a national leader in public housing with four family projects, seven high rises for the elderly and 150 vouchers for private-sector housing for very low income persons. A half century later, the La Crosse Housing Authority continues to win honor after honor from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other organizations. It is viewed as a model for similar housing authorities throughout the country.
© Copyright 2004-2010
Housing Authority of the City of La Crosse
1307 Badger St - La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601
608-782-2264 or 608-782-2261 TDY