JANESVILLE — Quality of life begins with the basics — food, clothing, a job and a safe place to live.

But in Rock County and across the country, the lack of affordable housing can lead to a variety of community problems, including homelessness.

The issue often flies under the radar, but as Janesville, Beloit and other communities move forward on a variety of economic development initiatives, the lack of housing options has becoming a growing problem.

A special forum sponsored by the Rock County Civics Academy looks into homelessness and affordable housing in Rock County to explore a variety of solutions.

The forum is planned for 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at the Italian House Restaurant in Janesville, located at 1603 E. Racine St.

Rock County Civics Academy moderator Rich Gruber’s guests are:

Kelly Bedessem, Janesville’s housing services director

Jessica Locher from ECHO

Tammy DeGarmo from Project 16:49

Marc Perry of Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties

The panel will discuss the impact of housing costs and homelessness on our communities and what’s being done, and not done, to address these problems.

The group will explore insights toward solutions, and hopefully a commitment to action.

The program is free and open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to bring their questions. Come early and register for a chance to win dinner from the Italian House.

The program will stream live on the RCCA Facebook page at Facebook.com/RockCountyCivicsAcademy.

The Rock County Civics Academy is a non-partisan, good government group whose goal is to remove politics from local government and explore local issues facing our communities.

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