Occupy Madison Inc. Needs Your Help!

Posted January 18th, 2013 @ 7:46 AM by

If you want to help Occupy Madison, we need volunteers, public supporters, donations and much more! If you’re like to help, read below to find out how! And thank you!

1. Donate on-line or mail checks to Occupy Madison Inc at 30 N Hancock St. Madison WI 53703.
2. Sponsor or attend fundraiser at the Fountain on 1/29 at the Fountain at 122 State St.
3. Let us know if we can use your name as a public supporter at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com.
4. Let us know if you want to volunteer and if you have any special skills or areas you want to volunteer in, also at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com.
5. Pie, we need pie. Donations of PIE! are needed for the fundraiser on the 29th.

Please read below to find out why this is so important!

Dear Concerned Community Member -

We are writing you today because we believe, like you, that human beings should not be sleeping in a tent in the cold Wisconsin winter. However, that is the case for over 300 Madison and Dane County residents right now. We know this, because we work with many grassroots and private community partners to help support the people living in tents and outdoors throughout the Madison area.

Many people ask us, “why“? Why are people “choosing” to live outside instead of in the shelters. For many, it is not a “choice”, it is a fact of life.

- Both the men’s and women’s shelters have a 60 day limit (with exceptions for cold weather under 20 and 22 degrees respectively). Those days renew every year, but for about 75% of the year they have no shelter to go to, and they often save their shelter days for the coldest days of the year.
- The women’s shelter only has beds for 30 – 35 women, the rest are turned away. Additionally, the women have to participate in a lottery every night and have no guarantee where they will be sleeping.
- Families have only 90 days in shelter per year and have a 180 day lifetime limit. Although a Warming House exists in the evenings for the families, they can only stay there one night at a time and then have to give up their slot for another family in need.
- The Domestic Violence Shelter turns people away on a regular basis. At a recent homeless services meeting we were told that if someone is about to leave their abuser, they should plan ahead to get on the waiting list to make it more likely they would have shelter.
- – Working homeless with 2nd or 3rd shift jobs don’t get enough sleep during the times the shelter is open.
- – People who are too sick are turned away.
- – Couples without children are forced to be separated to get shelter.
- – Transgendered and gay and lesbian people often find shelter difficult and are harassed in the shelter system.
- – Unaccompanied youth report fears of going to the shelter and that they fear for their safety.
- – Stories of bed bugs, rapidly spreading illnesses, noisy sleeping environments, unclean facilities, stealing and much more prevent people from choosing shelter.
- – Some people have been banned from shelter and have no independent third party to appeal to.
- – Others simply have difficulty with the group living environment or being locked in at night.

Can you imagine “choosing” to sleep outside in a tent instead of a warm bed? It is not a choice people make lightly, if it is a choice at all.

Much of this became apparent at Occupy Madison, where people chose to live on a parking lot as it was an upgrade to other available options. We also discovered that we were creating something new — a shared, inclusive community where everyone could contribute and influence what happened and how as well as benefiting from the support of each other.

All summer long we have been looking for alternatives to living outside on the streets or to hidden & cold tents before the winter came, and we are pleased we finally believe we have found an initial model for a long-term solution! OM House! However, this can only be done with the community’s help.

Thanks to a donor and much help from volunteers, we are opening a 20 unit residence for the people living who are currently without homes. This will be different as it will be a housing co-operative where the people living there determine much of what happens and how the building is run, as well as consolidating opportunities for local services and increasing the opportunities to work together and learn from each other.

Before this becomes a reality, there is a lot of hard work left to be done, and we need to raise about $100,000 in the next few months to make it happen. We have the money for the down payment ($31,500), we need money for the necessary improvements to the building ($75,000) and initial operating costs for the first few months. After that, we believe we with some additional zoning changes we can charge a modest amount of rent ($200 or less) and get grants and refinance to lower our monthly payments.

What can you do to help?

1. Donate! We are looking for donations of any size, but clearly this is a huge task to raise this money quickly. Donations can be made by:
PayPal: OMHouse.org
Mail: Checks can be made out to 30 N Hancock St., Madison, WI 53703

2. Sponrsor or attend fundraiser at the Fountain on 1/29 from 5 – 7:30 at the Fountain at 122 State St. Live music from Combustible Trio, Pie, information about the project, cash bar and good conversation! Facebook Event. If you would like to sponsor the event, just pledge in advance and let us know if we can use your name as a sponsor to promote the event. (occupymadisoninc@gmail.com)

3. Let us know if we can use your name as a public supporter at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com.

4. Let us know if you want to volunteer and if you have any special skills or areas you want to volunteer in, also at occupymadisoninc.com

5. Pie, we need pie. We are seeking pie and tasty treat donations to raise funds for the new Occupy Madison House. Pies, pastries, cookies and cakes welcome, too! Each piece of pie will have a suggested donation amount. ALL proceeds go to Occupy Madison Inc. to build the OM House.

Thank you so much for your consideration and help to keep at 20 people warm next winter and for many winters to come!

Sincerely,

Occupy Madison, Inc.


Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media

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