Argh!!!! You all know my frustrations . . . but it is freaking absurd when I find out about the plan to deal with homeless during the heat wave from two alders via neighborhood listserves instead of communication through the listserve for the Homeless Services Consortium or from the providers themselves. It comes via a forwarded email from the mayor’s office. How the hell are homeless people supposed to know what services are available to them – they aren’t on these listserves and they don’t tell people what is going on! Here’s the plan sent yesterday, I forwarded all over facebook, but can’t actually forward to the Homeless Services Consortium group because it is controlled by one bureaucrat who filters everything that goes to the list and often information comes out too late.
From: Crawley, Katie
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 11:13 AM
To: All Alders
Cc: Ruckriegel, Ed
Subject: Weather issues
Although temperatures are certainly giving us a break today, I wanted to keep you in the loop on heat issues. As you know there are releases and reminders that went out yesterday. With the heat forecast to extend into the weekend, I know Fire, Public Health and others will continue to stress the importance of getting into cooler locations during the day to lower core body temperatures. The temperatures will be low enough throughout the night to be safe.
There are many public buildings that serve as cooling centers without a formal designation. Those would include of course the City County Building and MMB, but also all public libraries and Senior Centers. There are also shopping malls, movie theaters, churches and other facilities that are open for use.
We are stressing that residents reach out to elderly friends, relatives and acquaintances to see if they need a helping hand or a place to stay. There is no question that those more isolated are more likely to be in an unsafe environment.
Encourage people to refer neighbors, friends, and family members to the Madison Senior Coalitions. They are well situated to check on older, isolated adults, and in the past, they have offered fans, advice about resources, and transportation to cooling centers. For your information (don’t worry about the correct area):
· East Madison/Monona Senior Coalition, 608-223-3100
· North Eastside Senior Coalition, 608-243-5252
· South Madison Senior Coalition, 608-251-8405
· West Madison Senior Coalition, 608-238-7368.
The Salvation Army is acting as a cooling center. Anyone who stayed overnight is able to stay during the day and the facility is open to the public who may need respite.
The Road Home will allow anyone to be there during the day even if they don’t have a slip from spending the previous night at the Salvation Army.
Porchlight has ample shelter capacity for single men. Steve Schooler reports that the expects to be calling a weather exception for the remainder of the week, allowing anyone needing shelter the option of using Porchlight.
I hope this information is helpful. Feel free to share with constituents.
Office of the Mayor
City-County Building, Room 403
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703-3345
Just so you know, there are a few flaws in this plan, beyond the failure to tell service providers, advocates and homeless persons themselves about the plan. The first being that the Salvation Army serves 30 families at a time, there are 40 – 65 families on the waiting list at any one time, so they would have to know they can go to The Road Home, but again, I don’t know how they would know that.
Second of all, Porchlight shelters aren’t air conditioned or they are poorly air conditioned. (They are in churches and don’t really have control over that.) And, there are no options during the day.
During the first heat wave this year, I walked around the square and gave out water and Popsicle and sports drinks to people. Over 50 people. At that time, I was very struck by home much worse the heat is than the cold. When it is cold, you can get more layers. When it is warm . . . there aren’t many options. I felt terrible seeing a whole lot more skin of many people than I felt comfortable with – and I felt bad they have no privacy and are just out in the open for everyone to see, hot, miserable, sweating, uncomfortable and unable to sleep.
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