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Support affordable, inclusive housing: 9 things you can do now

This past April, Habitat for Humanity and its community partners hosted a program called Then + Now: Housing Access, Insecurity, and Discrimination in La Crosse. Over 70 attendees engaged in a rich discussion about historical and contemporary housing issues.

A core team, including staff from Couleecap, La Crosse Public Library Archives, Habitat, Cia Siab, & UW-Extension-La Crosse County, spent months researching and developing this program. We had two core goals: connect contemporary housing issues to our local history, and inspire more people to take action in support of policies that advance housing access.

The program explored:

  • The state of housing today: access and affordability compared to previous eras
  • La Crosse's Sundown Town history: how racism has shaped our city
  • Unhoused populations: how our community has treated people experiencing homelessness
  • Racially restrictive covenants: tools used to prevent non-white people from purchasing property
  • And much more!

Most importantly, we discussed ways our community members can take action. How can we create a La Crosse that is inclusive, accessible, and safe for all? How can we draw inspiration from our past to work toward a better future?

We have some ideas. Read on for ways you can educate, act, and advocate in support of housing.



Read Black La Crosse, a history of La Crosse's 19th century Black population, available at the La Crosse Public Library.

Read '...We need a roof over our heads': The Story of the La Crosse Housing Authority, available online.

Read through the Pathways Home plan, which brings the city and county together to find long-term solutions to homelessness.


Watch this short video from PBS Wisconsin: Covenants, redlining and Black homeownership in Wisconsin. Video runs 7 minutes 30 seconds and explores the historical roots of today’s segregated housing market.


Locally produced podcast Goat Cart has a new series: LAX Listening Sessions. This series is about the people who are or who have at some time experienced homelessness. Listen to the first episode here.


Follow Habitat for Humanity, Couleecap, La Crosse Public Library, and Cia Siab on Facebook (and follow the MANY other housing agencies and community institutions working on improving our community).

Learn who your La Crosse City Councilperson is. Review city district map here, and find the list of Councilmembers here.

Read your deed to see if you have a racially restrictive covenant on your property. Not sure where to start? Visit the La Crosse County Register of Deeds.


Get involved in local government:

  • Attend an upcoming city meeting, or simply review upcoming agendas. Visit the City of La Crosse website, and click the Legislative Information Center in the top right corner.
  • Email your City Councilperson to tell them what you're learning about housing access and affordability.
  • When housing insecurity issues are on the Common Council meeting agenda, share what you support in an email to City Councilmembers.

Tip: email ALL City Councilmembers using [email protected].  

Ready to get involved?

Learn more about housing advocacy in La Crosse

Partner Family

Darshida has been working to become a homeowner for years. She is a passionate nurse, a dedicated mother to four boys, and a longtime La Crosse resident. After years of hard work and unforeseen obstacles, Darshida and her family moved into their new home in spring 2023.

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