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Congressman learns about, encourages discussion on hunger and homelessnessSubmitted: 12/18/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Congressman learns about, encourages discussion on hunger and homelessness
WAUSAU - Northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy didn't know just how much hunger and homelessness affects our communities.

A group of local pastors tuned him in to the problem.

"It surprised me. I think a lot of people aren't aware of how bad this problem is, and I thought I could be part of a growing solution to address those issues of hunger and homelessness in Wisconsin, especially right here in central Wisconsin," Duffy said.

Duffy hosted Wednesday's Hunger and Homelessness Summit in Wausau.

He says nearly 14 percent of people in central and northern Wisconsin faced food hardships in 2011 and 2012.

Thousands spent time in homeless shelters.

But how these issues look in our part of the state is much different than in other areas.

"I think when you think of homelessness, you often times think of urban centers. But the fact is, we have it right here. One of the issues is it's harder to address in smaller communities," Duffy said.

More than 125 people came together Wednesday to give their input and learn about hunger and homelessness issues.

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The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

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State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

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Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

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Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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