Laundry and showers could be put in the Warming Center with relative ease and low cost. Fire safety issues also need to be addressed. And isn’t the county embarrassed about the porta-potty location? I don’t understand their bizarre resistance to making people’s lives just the slightest little itty bit better. Instead, they do and say the goofiest of things.
EMAIL REGARDING SHOWERS, LAUNDRY AND FIRE SAFETY ISSUES
Robert, Good afternoon.
You may recall that we met at the Warming Center building on opening day.
I’m writing today because Sarah Gillmore asked me to assist in solving some outstanding problems at the 827 E. Washington building. The issues are about increasing storage, laundry & providing a shower. I understand that you did some investigation about the latter two and found the cost to be prohibitive.
Attached please find pdf’s of a draft plan I made of a scheme for getting a shower and washer-dryer set working in the existing utility room adjacent to the kitchen. It looks like it could be done with no demolition, a modest amount of plumbing & electrical work, plus some simple carpentry. I would like to compare notes with you as to the workability of this approach, which could be accomplished with volunteer’/donated resources if the County cannot provide them.
In the matter of increased storage I am going to survey the building and recommend acceptable places to increase both open shelf and closed storage for food & kitchen supplies, donations of all sorts and maintenance/housekeeping equip. & supplies. It would be very helpful if you could share or direct me to access to an electronic copy of the floor plan that you commissioned (I don’t recall the architect who did the “as built” plan).
In the course of surveying the building, a couple of life safety questions arose that I feel I should check out with you:
• I took a look at the sprinkler system riser and water heater in the utility room adjacent to the street. The inspection tag on the riser doesn’t appear to show any re-inspection or testing since the New Loft closed.
• The panel for the smoke/fire detection/alarm system, located in the utility room to the left of the main breaker panels, does not appear to be connected to the phone line block for the outside monitoring service. So I think that needs re-activation.
Please let me know if I am mistaken about either of those items. I not, we really need to get both systems checked out and working. The occupant load in the Center is regularly over 100 and there is a fair amount of contents that would be excellent fuel in a fire.
I will give you a call this afternoon, and would be happy to meet with you at your earliest convenience.
Warm regards, Ed
Edward Kuharski, Architect, AIA, LEED AP – BD+C
Green Design Studio
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Tuesday night an architect testified at the Homeless Issues Committee that he sent the county information about how they could get showers and laundry at the Warming Center and he didn’t get a response to this email. So he sent it again and called twice and still hadn’t heard back. Standard Operating Procedure for the County I guess.
What was slightly more disturbing to me was that Lynn Green explained the issues as follows:
1. The City approved the building for occupancy, so it the sprinkler system and smoke detection/alarm system must be sufficient.
2. They have a lease with the Goodman Center and it doesn’t allow any modifications.
Sigh, the reasons I’m disturbed are as follows.
1. The sprinkler systems usually have annual inspections, not by the city but by the companies that install them. And then they tag the items they are inspecting (also fire extinguishers and other items). Then, the city fire department does annual inspections of commercial buildings for fire code issues and if they tags aren’t up to date, or if you use too many extension cords (we always get busted on this one) or your exit lights aren’t working – they write all that up.
2. Having over 100 people there every day should merit some sort of attention to the alarm situation – and I’m sure the county can spare the cost of an additional phone line. But it just got blown off. I think its a sign of how irritated they are that they have to deal with this issue that they have been clearly ignoring for years.
3. There are solutions for laundry and showers, that require relatively minor changes – has the county discussed this with the Goodman Community Center that owns the building, or did they just throw them under the bus and blame it on them? Did they even look at the plans to see the minor changes?
It’s sad that even when there are volunteers and we can get donations, the simplest thing, that would help with the most basic of daily needs of people who are without homes, the county just can’t be bothered.
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE PORTA-POTTY
This still isn’t resolved.
The attempt to get showers, restrooms and storage lockers at the county resulted in a day warming shelter for a few months this winter, which is good, but the underlying issues are still there. And the way they dealt with the porta-potty issue is beyond absurd.
Heidi Wegleitner sent this email – we’re expecting no response – as per usual.
Can we please relocate the port-a-potty at the top of the County ramp to an accessible location? There is no elevator and I do not believe it is providing meaningful 24 hour restroom access to folks in need as intended by Res. 87. One of my clients is street homeless and relies on a motorized wheelchair for mobility. I am actually rather proud that the county committed to providing a downtown port-a-potty, but fear that this is now perceived as a joke.
A joke indeed. 7th floor, a half mile if you are in a wheel chair and can’t take the stairs, 5 stories of 74 steps if you take the steps the shortest distance. I can’t explain the resistance and the bizarre behavior of the county on this issue. Is it just a callous attitude towards persons without homes? Is it fear? Is it that they don’t believe it is needed? Are they doing this so they can later claim its not needed because it is not used? I don’t know. I really don’t understand. What are they afraid of? A porta-potty shouldn’t be that difficult – its not just people without homes that could benefit from public restrooms.
Showers, lockers, laundry, restrooms. Simple things that would help people focus on the things we as a society expect, jobs, housing, etc. Instead, we put more obstacles in the way and treat these issues as a joke. Its almost like we want people to just remain homeless.
Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media