Better late than never?

Posted December 30th, 2013 @ 11:55 PM by

A little after 11:00 tonight we were finally notified of the county’s plan to deal with the holidays and the next few very cold and snowy days – and keeping homeless people from freezing to death or at least getting hypothermia or losing some toes to frostbite. Not much detail and I have NO idea how people are supposed to find out about the latest last minute plan that has been thrown together.

County Board Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner sent this out to activist/volunteer networks, no official notice from the Homeless Services Consortium or to the Purchase of Service Agencies (non-profits) from the city or county – the people who get paid to do this stuff. It’s from Lynn Green, Director of Human Services:

First United is open tomorrow and Fountain of Life Church is open Wednesday in addition to Hospitality House both days. The van is going to operate and get people around to these sites. Mark Wilson, Conner, Sarah and Z are going to assist First United and Fountain of Life and also check on people at the Capitol. The Capitol is open, and the State has agreed to let us publicize it as a place for people to come and be warm.

This is so absurd. This is Wisconsin, it is cold, we have the same holidays every year – why can’t we plan ahead and tell our brothers and sisters what to expect instead of creating all this anxiety and uncertainty. And why are service providers and volunteers put in this position at the last minute to scramble around? Who is in charge here? Who should be doing this planning for the winter, in advance? And, can we get some details here? Hours, addresses, bus routes to take or Porchlight van schedules. I know some people will figure it all out, but this is not professional, it is not competent, it is embarrassing, again. Our community can do better!!!! Do they think if things keep getting screwed up that people will just eventually lower their expectations and give up? Not going to happen.

Thanks to everyone who is making this happen. Mark and Connor from Bethel Lutheran Church, Karen from First United Methodist. Sarah and Z! who should have a comprehensive permanent day center to run already so we weren’t doing these stupid gymnastics at the last minute and to the folks at Fountain of Life. To Heidi Wegleitner who is a fierce advocate with the county. To Chaous et al with Stone Soup and Tami Miller et al with Friends of the State St. Family who are out and about making sure everyone has what they need to be safe in these extreme temperatures. Our community owes you all big time! Much love to all who are doing what the government seems to mess up every year.

I have a headache. And heartache. These folks experiencing homelessness deserve better – respect, dignity, safety. We have to do better.


Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media

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