How to Celebrate MLK Day (Updated – 4)

Posted January 17th, 2014 @ 11:26 AM by

Shut down all the city and county services and buildings without a plan for the most vulnerable. Nothing says social and economic justice like letting people spend the all day in freezing temperatures. (15 F forecast)

The title and opening line are how a friend of mine re-posted my facebook post about the email I sent below.

We know that the homeless have a higher mortality rate. We know what best practices are for winters and the unsheltered. This is the third year where we are scrambling all over to figure out what to do for winter day shelter, and somehow, we came up with the worst plan yet . . . and we still have no permanent, comprehensive (storage, showers, laundry, social services, etc) day resource center – we haven’t even put in an offer to purchase yet.

There was an hour and a half long discussion the other day about what we need to do – the answer is mostly PLAN IN ADVANCE and COMMUNICATE . . . but even after that discussion, there is no plan for Monday.

from: Brenda Konkel
to: tami miller (Feeding the State St. Family), chaous riddle (Stone Soup), Sarah Gillmore (Shine), Z! (Shine), Mark Wilson (Bethel), Karen Andro (!st United Methodist), Heidi Wegleitner, Georgie Nazos (Shine), Preston Patterson (Porchlight), “D. Jonathan Grieser” (Grace Episcopal), Kelly Donahue (Madison Police Dept)
cc: Liegha Weber (Salvation Army), Steven Schooler (Porchlight), Lynn Green (Dane County Human Services, Tim Saterfield (Dane County Human Services,, Chales Tubbs (Emergency Management), Sue Wallinger (City Homeless Services/CDBG), Mike Fleenor (Tellurian Reach Out, Homeless Services Consortium Chair), Tara Wallace (Madison Schools and Vice Chair of Homeless Services Consortium), Mayor Paul Soglin, County Executive Joe Parisi, All Alders , “”
date: Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM
subject: Our next emergency scramble – Monday

Library is closed.
Bethel is closed
1st United Methodist is closed
Monona Terrace is closed
City County Building is closed

Capitol is open, but the MLK event is on the 2nd floor – will they allow all the homeless to be on the 1st floor (ground floor technically)? Seems like a conflict that may cause issues – i.e. probably a bad plan.

Hospitality House can’t accommodate 150 people and there are no transportation services to get everyone there.

Weather forecast according to – high 15 degrees, low -5.

We have no plans again, suggestions? Karen Andro suggested they might be able to do sack lunches, snacks and water, at the capitol? Would they allow that?

I’ve heard of no plans, even tho this came up Tuesday night and several of us were in the room and we made clear requests for information as early as possible – I’ve heard nothing except Preston asking me if the library was closed. We are in the same spot we were in . . . again. And we have one work day to figure it out and get the word out at Bethel and before it is a non-work day.

Thoughts? Maybe someone has it handled and we just don’t know yet? I’m working Bubbles tomorrow 11 – 1 and would like to know what to tell people.

Respectfully seeking answers.

So far, I heard first from from Steve Schooler from Porchlight last night:

We will be running the van service to Hospitality House and Safe Haven but I agree we can not accommodate 150 people even at both places. I do note that many used to hang out in the Capitol Basement … if that is open that could accommodate a significant number.

I got this last night as well from Father Jonathan at Grace:

I’m willing to make Grace available if we have adequate volunteer support and others to provide food. It’s not ideal (restrooms on a separate level) and we probably can’t accommodate more than 100 people.


And . . . .radio silence. Off line, we have Grace, hoping Porchlight will stay open til 9:00, that Salvation Army will let women and families (esp with kids out of school) be there all day and not make them leave for 4 hours, First United will provide lunch, Bethel will have their volunteers come over and some other volunteers (individuals) have stepped up.

The county?
The city?
Emergency Management?
Public Health?
Human Services?
Community Services?

Nothing. It’s 10:45, my Bubbles shift starts in 15 minutes or so, I guess this is the plan? I don’t know what to tell people, except go to Grace and hope you are one of the first 100 otherwise go to the capitol and hope the police don’t hassle you – go upstairs and mill around and sing with the MLK celebration. Brilliant plan. Not sure who is going to tell the police or get the word out. Karen Andro from First United has this posted on her facebook (its her birtday, so click on the picture of Grace Episcopal Church and see the comments there):

DAY WARMING CENTER – Monday, January 20
Grace Episcopal Church @ 116 W Washington Ave.
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (lunch @ 11:30 a.m.)

Farther Jonathan Grieser is opening the doors of Grace Episcopal Church to our homeless brothers and sisters offering warmth and fellowship in light of closures for the holiday.

Porchlight’s shelter #1 @ Grace will remain open until 9:00 a.m. and Salvation Army is open to women and families in light of school closings. The State Capitol will be open.

Karen Andro is coordinating outreach volunteers. Contact Karen for details or 608.206.1964 or thru Facebook.

What is wrong with our “system” that this is how the plan emerged and that this is the plan in general. Especially after the meeting Tuesday night . . . when this issue came up and the people with the power to do something just ignored it. And later, they will lie and say they were part of the planning for this, even tho they haven’t responded.

I wonder if all the powers at be find any irony in this at all. Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We have a long way to go . . . still.

************** UPDATE ******************
From the Salvation Army: :

Our families will either stay on-site (Family Shelter) or have the option to go to The Road Home (Emergency Family Shelter) during the day as they usually do. My/our concern is for single women. We’ll have a skeleton staff here on Monday making it really difficult to have daytime services. I wish we could be more helpful. I may be able to mobilize some volunteer support if Grace needs additional help.

Leigha Weber | Social Services, Director

From The Road Home:

I saw the notes from yesterday’s MHAHAU meeting. The Road Home is open on Monday (MLK, Jr. Day), so families with children who are at Warming House the previous night can come here during the day like any other day. I saw the notes said a missing piece for Monday is a day time place for families with children.

Tami Miller:

Brenda- are Porchlight bans lifted? I have Frank, Tami 2 and Deb out in the field today giving bus passes and other items- it would be nice if we could tell them they can come in from the cold at night while we tell them that the Church is open


Can anyone answer this question for Tami?

Brenda- are Porchlight bans lifted? I have Frank, Tami 2 and Deb out in the field today giving bus passes and other items- it would be nice if we could tell them they can come in from the cold at night while we tell them that the Church is open

Karen Andro:


I have compiled information and Tim will be sending a Press Release.


Garett Lee:

Thanks for taking action on this. I spoke with Karen Andro today and I will be volunteering the whole day along with one or more fellows. We will be bringing cards, board games, my guitar, and snacks for our friends’ enjoyment and entertainment.

Tami Miller:

Once we have the factual information, our outreach teams will print it off and bring it out to the 51 sites we serve out of the downtown area, and pass out bus passes to urban campers and gas cards to car campers to get to the shelter on Monday…I have 2 teams out today- passing out Military Modular sleeping bags that we got that are supposed to be good to -30 degrees and have a weather proof barrier.

If, for some reason they can’t all be reached today-we will have many people at our fundriaser tomorrow that we can mobilize if need be. If any of you are aware of urban campers/car campers outside of the downtown (Capitol Square/State Street/MLK) area- please message me so we can reach them before Monday.

Heidi Wegleitner:

Thank you volunteers and providers for stepping up, once again, to fill in this gap over MLK and another cold spell. Your ongoing service is a meaningful tribute to Dr. King and his commitment and sacrifice for economic justice. And thanks to Tim (county staff for homeless services) for helping to get the word out. Let’s keep up the communication with providers, volunteers, staff and the community so we can make sure people in need are aware of existing resources and services. We are making progress!

Thanks again,


P.S. I am so eager for our new day center which should eliminate many of these service gaps and coordination challenges.

Brenda – 1:25

Any ETA on when the word will come out? My Bubbles shift is now over, I tried to give people information that I had verbally.

Karen Andro: 1:30

An official Press Release is on the way :)

Mark is spreading the word at Bethel and Tami will do the same. How many did you have at Bubbles?

Brenda: 1:39

9 – 1 we had about 35 (left the folder in the car) – it was a slower day for us for some reason.

2:56 – STILL NO WORD!!!!

Brenda – 3:00 –

It’s 3:00, still not press release, will there be something soon so CAC can update the Housing Hotline before the end of the day?

Tim Saterfield (County Human Services) – 3:04

Thanks for policing this Brenda, and sending your message to this entire list. I just got back from a meeting downtown which began at 1, and will be putting the release out shortly.

After all that, a press release was sent out at 3:32, not to me, of course, but it was send out and I got it forwarded by Heidi Wegleitner . . .

Monday, January 20, 2014

The faith community and others have coordinated to provide homeless individuals with places to find warmth and food on Monday, January 20, 2014. Some regular providers and locations that provide day-time shelter and services to the homeless will be closed Monday in observance of the M.L. King Jr. holiday. However, a range of services will be available

Grace Episcopal Church located at 116. W. Washington Avenue is opening their doors to provide day shelter for the homeless from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, January 20. Father Jonathan Grieser welcomes all in need of shelter during this time. The Guild Room and reception area will be available and may be accessed by entering the garden courtyard. Lunch will be provided.

Families using The Salvation Army of Dane County’s Emergency Family Shelter on the night of Sunday, January 19 may stay on-site Monday or are welcome to seek daytime shelter on Monday, January 20 at The Road Home. Referral to The Road Home and transportation will be provided by The Salvation Army.

Porchlight’s van service will be running from the Salvation Army and Drop In Shelter beginning at 7:30 a.m. thru approximately 9:00 a.m. going to the Hospitality House on Martin Street and Safe Haven at Nekoosa Trail. Van service will be returning people from Hospitality House and Safe Haven beginning at approximately 3:00 p.m. until approximately 4:30 p.m. The Drop-In Shelter will be open extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to coincide with the availability of The Guild Hall at Grace Episcopal Church.

In addition, the State Capitol will be open during the day on Monday.
Karen Andro, Director of Outreach Ministries at First United Methodist Church is helping coordinate outreach volunteers and lunch at Grace Episcopal Church. Anyone interested in volunteering or contributing food please contact Karen at or 608.206.1964.

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