Homeless Day Center!
Members of the Dane County Board Supervisors today introduced a resolution to create a permanent day center to address the needs of many people to access basic services, such as showers, restrooms, property storage spaces, laundry, mailboxes, and computers and phones to connect with employment opportunities and social services.
The resolution proposes that the county build the facility, funded in the 2013 county’s capital budget, and work with other local governments and not-for-profit agencies to operate the facility.
“Most people who are homeless have jobs, but they do not have resources to meet their basic needs to keep their jobs and raise themselves out of homelessness,” said Supervisor John Hendrick, the primary sponsor of the resolution. “This includes individuals and families that live in their car, sleep at a friend’s home, or use the shelters at night but do not have a space to use during the day,” he added.
Madison Urban Ministry issued a report on July 9, 2012, recommending the County Board take immediate action to address the gaps in services for the homeless in Dane County. While the report assessed several site locations for permanent housing facilities, it sparked discussion of a need for a daytime facility with storage space, restrooms, and showers.
“We are at a critical time in Dane County—the job market remains sluggish, the rental housing market is extremely tight, and funding for safety net programs continues to be cut. As a result, citizens of Dane County are left without access to basic services to help them survive, find a job, and support themselves,” said Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, a strong advocate for homeless and housing rights. “A day center is an important part of a broader plan to address significant gaps in our system.”
The resolution stresses that an ideal day center would be centrally located and accessible by public transportation. It also calls on the City of Madison, and the newly created City-County Homeless Issues Committee, to work with Dane County to address these essential needs.
And the resolution:
Day Center for Basic Needs
At the July 12 meeting the County Board received the MUM Committee’s report on Alternative Occupy Sites which identified gaps in homeless services, including the following: storage for personal belongings, shower access, and a day center where services could be accessed. Committee Chair Linda Ketcham was asked if financial support from the County for a day center would help fill in some of these gaps and she confirmed that it would make a significant difference. An ideal day center would be centrally located, convenient to transiland provide access to showers, restrooms, personal storage space, mailboxes, and computers and phones to connect to employment opportunities, public benefits and other community supports.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Dane County intends to support using money from the general levy to provide capital funds for a day center in this upcoming budget cycle if the operating funds are secured by another source, like the City of Madison. We recently created a City-County Homeless Issues Committee comprised of both City and County officials because we believe homelessness is a problem that the City and County must work together to address. We request the cooperation of staff in securing necessary items, like storage lockers, should they become available through channels at a minimal cost.
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