Wow, reading the resolutions the county board passed and the report on what a Daytime Resource Center should contain is a sad, sad task to take on. Read it and weep. Heidi Wegleitner told us to reread the report and I instinctively knew it would be bad, I didn’t really expect to see it so clearly in black and white.
From the report:
On September 20, 2012 the County Board adopted Substitute 1 to Res. 84, 2012-2013, which stated the intent of the County Board to support using money from the general levy to provide funds for a day center in the 2013 capital budget cycle, provided funds are also secured by another source, like the City of Madison and/or other non-profit agencies to share total expenses. This resolution also identified several issues of importance to effective operation of a permanent day resource center:
- centrally located, convenient to transit and provide access to showers, restrooms, personal storage space, mailboxes, and computers and phones to connect to employment opportunities, public benefits and other community supports.
- planning in advance: The City of Madison is interested in participating in the upfront discussions about planning and operating such a center, including determining how costs for capital and operating expenses are shared between the county, city, and other entities.
- coordination and locational issues: The City of Madison is interested in the relationship of the proposed center to other existing daytime efforts, such as Hospitality House, the Bethel daytime program, and the Off the Square Club. Development of the day center should involve the existing Continuum of Care group as well as address how a proposed location would fit with nearby activities, residents, and businesses, and identify ways to minimize negative impacts of such a center on its neighbors.
- coordinated intake systems: The City is considering proposals to establish “coordinated intake systems”, as required under the new Federal HUD rules. A city committee’s current recommendation is to conduct an RFP later this year to solicit more thorough proposals to address the goal of coordinated intake.
The plan for 1490 Martin St fails on so many levels, but these are the most critical:
- centrally located FAIL!
- convenient to transit FAIL! (this is the only plan on-line, but I think it was updated and talked AFTER public testimony at Personnel and Finance)
- planning in advance: The City of Madison is interested in participating in the upfront discussions about planning and operating such a center, including determining how costs for capital and operating expenses are shared between the county, city, and other entities. – FAIL! (There is no plan for the operating expenses needed)
- Development of the day center should involve the existing Continuum of Care group as well as address how a proposed location would fit with nearby activities, residents, and businesses, and identify ways to minimize negative impacts of such a center on its neighbors. FAIL! (It is on the agenda for the first time in June – after the ciunty board votes on May 15th)
This is enough on its own . . . but lets go on . . .
Recommended Services and Facility Attributes for a Permanent Day Resource Center
The Homeless Issues Committee discussed the desirable services that should be made available at the permanent day resource center in Dane County. Some of these items are in part dependent on the attributes of the facility which is ultimately acquired to host the programming.
Children’s area/child care
Private offices/meeting rooms
Rooms for quiet resting
Telephone access center
Kitchen and food storage
Showers (including private and accessible)
Storage for personal items
It is recognized that the availability of a children’s area and/or child care services may be limited by the open nature of the facility – that some of the visitors may not be appropriate in an area for child care. The preference in this report is to state that, at least ideally, there would be resources available at some level for young children who may be at the center with their parents or guardians. Whether this would be simply an area or room in the facility which has resources for children, such as books, games and toys, or a more formal setting with some level of provided staff, will need to be determined after a facility and an operator for the resource center are selected.
One of the needs identified in current resources is for sleeping space for second and third shift workers. These individuals are currently general not served by the overnight sheltering system due to the specific hours of admission and operation. While it is not recommended that shelter beds be provided at the day resource center, it is desirable that a limited number of quiet rooms be available for those who may need to rest during the day.
A mix of multi-purpose rooms, private offices and meeting rooms is desirable. Space is desirable for larger group meetings as well as small discussions. Offices should be available where confidential conferences can occur between guests and services providers, outreach workers, etc.
Outside space is desirable both for those seeking to simply be outside, as well as for a designated smoking area.
The following services should be provided in readily available space at the day resource center on a frequent, regularly scheduled basis, using community resources:
Mental health services
Convenient availability of low cost or free mass transit is extremely desirable and important for the effective operation of the day resource center. Siting the facility on, or very near, main bus routes will be a key criteria for the location of the facility. In addition, availability of bus passes or other ready access to transportation will be important. In addition, innovative use of bicycle transportation options would be desirable.
The Homeless Services Consortium, a partnership of service provider agencies, funders, and advocates, is working to organize and implement a coordinated intake system for services to homeless persons. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is fostering the creation of coordinated intake systems. There seems to be an emerging consensus among participants in the Dane County system that a day resource center can play a key role in anchoring the coordinated intake system. As the permanent center is organized, the ability to host such a coordinated intake system, but from a facility and programmatic standpoint, is considered essential.
So, how does this line up?
In looking at the plans the following things concern me:
- The report says:
The interim center is generally providing services to approximately 125 or more people per day.
This only has a capacity of 80. The common room has 40 seats, there were far more than 40 people hanging out in the main area of the successful facility 2 years ago. MAJOR FAIL!
- The kitchen area has no serving area for food. FAIL!
- 3 washers and dryers? What happens on days where it is raining and everything is soaked? And got more soaked getting to this facility waiting for the bus and walking to and from the bus? FAIL!
- Child play area for 5 or 6 kids? FAIL!
- One phone charging station?
But lets go back to the biggest problem:
The Committee considered the following to be important considerations for the choice of a building and location of the permanent day resource center:
Near bike path and major bus route
Proximity to compatible services
Sensitivity to nearby services/facilities
Commercial or mixed-use area
4-8,000 sq. ft. minimum
General location: From First Street on the East to Randall St. on the West Between the lakes to Wingra Drive south on Park Street
The consensus is that a downtown or central location is preferable for several reasons. Many of the potential users of the center use the downtown night shelter system. All of the emergency overnight shelters are located very near to the Capitol Square. Other services which are used by the homeless are also most often located downtown. Access to major bus routes is crucial for access to employment opportunities as well as a range of services. There may be sites outside the general boundaries described above that could be effective for the center, but it is likely there would have to be special advantages with that site or facility.
How’d they do?
Central/Isthmus location – FAIL!
Near bike path and major bus route – (FAIL! ON THE BIKE PATH!)
Proximity to compatible services – LIMITED, TOO FAR FROM SHELTER
Sensitivity to nearby services/facilities – ??
Commercial or mixed-use area – FAIL!
Appropriate zoning – ?
4-8,000 sq. ft. minimum
General location: From First Street on the East to Randall St. on the West Between the lakes to Wingra Drive south on Park Street – FAIL!
(With your bedding, laundry and backpack)
2.8 mi – about 15 mins
1. Head northeast on W Washington Ave toward S Carroll St 56 ft
2. Turn right onto S Carroll St 394 ft
3. Turn right onto S Hamilton St 102 ft
4. Turn right onto W Main St 0.8 mi
5. Slight right at S Brittingham Pl 102 ft
6. Turn left toward W Shore Dr 0.3 mi
7. Turn left onto W Shore Dr 0.4 mi
8. Turn right onto Parr Rd 325 ft
9. Continue onto Fish Hatchery Rd 1.0 mi
10. Turn right onto Martin St Destination will be on the right
What’s to like about this facility?
They are overpaying by about $100,000 by most people’s estimates, people can’t easily get there, the transportation plan alone will cost $100,000 or more per year and will be inadequate on weekends and holidays, the facility doesn’t hold enough people and it appears are inadequate in other ways. Another issue is this is on a private well and they don’t know if there is adequate water with the showers and washers and much heavier use than the current facility (expanded 3 fold).
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Sign this petition.
Email your county board supervisor and ask them to:
- Do this right the first time, don’t repeat the mistakes made with the jail by building an inadequate facility that costs more money later.
- Slow it down and spend more money on a downtown location, a day center people can’t use is useless.
- Support Heidi Wegleitner’s resolution to spend more on a downtown location.
- Ask Health and Human Need and Personnel and Finance to reconsider their positions after the Homeless Issues Committee has a chance to vote
Just because your supervisor is “liberal” don’t assume they are on the right side of this issue, it is likely they are not – this is being pushed through very quickly to get it off their plates, please, please please email them and ask them if they support this and why! firstname.lastname@example.org
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