Couleecap News Releases and Media Alerts
9.15.22 Couleecap announces new business incubator with grant from La Crosse Community Foundation
Couleecap today announced it is opening a new small business incubator to support entrepreneurship, economic vitality, and business diversity in the area. The program, funded in part by a three-year $90,000 grant from the La Crosse Community Foundation, is designed to increase equity and stimulate the local economy by focusing on businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and entrepreneurs starting with low incomes. The community is invited to help choose a logo and name the new venture.
Located at 320 Main Street in downtown La Crosse, the incubator offers eight to ten small businesses the opportunity to launch their enterprises in a popular shopping district. The site will also host weekend and special pop-up events, so new products are regularly featured to the public. It's expected to open in late October, in time for the holiday shopping season.
"After seeing how successful collaborative pop-up shop programs were during the holiday season, we wanted to scale the model to be a year-round opportunity for entrepreneurs in the area," said Couleecap Community Development Director Ashley Lacenski.
Businesses wishing to rent space in the incubator can apply online at www.couleecap.org/retail.html. To keep the program low-barrier and low-risk, businesses will pay zero rent for the first three months and then rent will escalate every few months after that. Tenants will receive wrap-around business planning support, technical assistance, training referrals and other resources. In addition, Couleecap is partnering with the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiatives Corporation (WWBIC) to offer onsite learning courses and support for tenants and other businesses in the downtown area.
"We expect the incubator will strengthen the entire downtown small business economy. That's important to us as promoting small businesses means supporting working families, tourism and community reinvestment," added Lacenski.
The La Crosse Community Foundation grant is helping to get the venture up and running.
"This project stands to be a win for everyone — for historically excluded local entrepreneurs, other downtown shop owners, future employees and the community's overall economic well-being," said La Crosse Community Foundation CEO Jamie Schloegel. "La Crosse Community Foundation is proud to support our community’s next business owners with this transformational project."
Other funders include the city of La Crosse, Three-Sixty Real Estate, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and anonymous donors.
To kick off the small business incubator, Couleecap invites the public to help name the new venture. Through September 29, community members can visit the incubator to view a window display of proposed names and logos for the initiative and vote for their favorite through a QR Code posted on the window. The selected name and logo will be announced at a grand opening event when the incubator opens.
"This is all about community. A place where local entrepreneurs will launch or grow their businesses. It only makes sense that we ask our community to help us name it," said Lacenski.
To learn more about the small business incubator and rental terms, visit www.couleecap.org/retail.html.
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Couleecap, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. Couleecap helps people in need with housing, food, transportation, and more. Created in 1966, we are a community action program that fights poverty and promotes self-sufficiency in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties. Couleecap is a member of the Community Action Network, originally created in 1964. Learn more at couleecap.org.
About La Crosse Community Foundation
The La Crosse Community Foundation is a public charity created by and for the people of the La Crosse area. Since the foundation was established in 1930, it has awarded more than $70 million in grants and scholarships. Through connecting people, passion and giving in the La Crosse area, the foundation is dedicated to being trusted stewards of the community's past and future assets.
7.21.22 Couleecap and Legal Action of Wisconsin Open a Tenant & Landlord Resource Office in the City of La Crosse
Couleecap and Legal Action of Wisconsin have partnered to create a new Tenant and Landlord Resource Office in the City of La Crosse. The office is in the REACH Services and Resources Center at 212 11th Street South and offers walk-in services and appointments for renters seeking assistance completing housing application and appeals, conflict resolution, education and information, and other resources. The office is also a place where landlords can seek assistance to support healthy relationships with tenants, information about landlord-tenant laws, and referrals to programs if their tenants are struggling. Click here for full news release.
5.26.22 Couleecap 'Help For Homeowners' Program Serves More Households with New Eligibility Guidelines
In March, Couleecap launched the Wisconsin Help for Homeowners Program providing assistance to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage, property taxes, or other expenses because of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent changes to the income limits used to qualify applicants for the program mean that more households may be eligible for the program.
Click Here for the Full News Release.
Click Here for the Full News Release.
5.11.22 Couleecap Showcases Latest Housing Development in the La Crosse Washburn Neighborhood and Welcomes New Homebuyers into their Home
Couleecap, the City of La Crosse Community Development Committee, and other supporters celebrated the latest new home built under the Couleecap Coulee Housing Development program. The home, located at 529 Winnebago Street, was developed as affordable housing with support from the City of La Crosse Community Development Block Grant fund. Click Here for the Full News Release.
4.26.22 Couleecap and City of Prairie du Chien Break Ground on New Workforce Housing Development
Couleecap and the City of Prairie du Chien broke ground on a new housing development to support the local workforce. The project, located on Brunson Street, will build four, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes to be sold to families earning up to 80% of the County Median Income. Each home will have a full basement and a garage. Click here for the full News Release.
3.9.2022 Couleecap Launches WI Help For Homeowners Program
Couleecap now offers assistance to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage or other costs related to home ownership due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The WI Help for Homeowners Program, or WHH, was announced by Governor Tony Evers earlier this week and is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury for COVID relief. Couleecap is delivering the program with the WI Community Action Program (WISCAP) in partnership with the Department of Administration.
Click here for the Full News Release.
Click here for the Full News Release.
1.24.2022 Couleecap delivers over $8.6 Million in Emergency Rental and Energy Assistance Payments to Low Income Households affected by COVID in the Coulee Region
(Westby) - The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or WERA, was launched in February 2021 to help households experiencing a financial hardship and housing insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Couleecap, the local poverty-fighting community action agency serving Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon Counties, launched the program after successfully operating a similar program in 2020. Like the earlier program, WERA is made possible through partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and the Wisconsin Community Action Program (WISCAP). Click Here for the Full News Release.
12.14.2021 New program helps families pay water bills
(Westby, WI) – A new Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) was developed as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide water bill assistance to eligible households. Households that qualify for bill assistance will be referred to Couleecap for water conservation repairs in their home to prevent future financial struggles. Click Here for the Full News Release.