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County Board Unveils Homeless Initiatives

For more information contact:

Supervisor John Hendrick 446-4842/Sup Heidi Wegleitner 333-3676/ Supervisor Carousel Bayrd 442-6294


Issued By: County Board Supervisors
View only releases from County Board Supervisors

Dane County’s homeless would have access to a permanent, year-round daytime shelter, as well as affordable housing and other facilities, under a series of initiatives proposed by the Dane County Board.


“We will rent shelter space through the winter, and that’s important. But it’s not enough,” Dane County Board Vice Chair John Hendrick said. “People need shelter from the heat and rain as well as the cold. They also need a safe, clean place to access daily necessities, as well as a path to real housing, even if that’s just a room. A place to call your own, however small, is a powerful thing.”


The County will rent space at 827 East Washington Avenue, or other location to be determined for a homeless warming shelter from mid-November through March 2013. At its November 1 meeting, the Board introduced a resolution signed by 23 supervisors to approve a lease.


Also proposed is a permanent day center that will cost $600,000 to build and $150,000 per year to operate. It will include daily living necessities such as restrooms, laundry, showers and storage lockers.  In addition phones, computers and mailboxes will assist with applying for jobs, housing and public services.


In addition to the warming shelter and the day center, the County Board is considering a number of other initiatives against homelessness.  Another budget amendment by Sup. Bayrd proposes the building of a single-room apartment building in which people of limited means could rent a single room. The building would cost the county an estimated $1.7 million over two years.  Sup. Melissa Sargent is proposing funding to Briarpatch for outreach to homeless youth.  An additional public toilet has been installed this month in the county parking ramp in downtown Madison.   A comprehensive study of the housing needs and resources of Dane County is also proposed.


Homeless veterans (and all veterans) will see better services in 2013, thanks to a total of $42,000 being added to the 2013 budget to expand the veteran’s service line, purchase technology for the Veterans Services Office, and digitize Veterans Services records.  These are proposed by Sup. Dianne Hesselbein with a goal of eliminating homelessness for veterans by 2015. 


            “This is the kind of thing County government is really meant to do,” said County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner. “We can only tackle the issue of homelessness with a comprehensive approach to the immediate needs of shelter and safety followed by access to other services. I’m proud of our County Board for taking that approach.”


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