Funding for a DOWNTOWN Day Shelter!?!

Posted May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:59 AM by

Ok, maybe there will be funding!  And at half the price for the study to determine if we need a new jail!

Let’s do this right! Setting it up for failure should not be an option! Thanks to Supervisor Wegleitner for leading on this and so much more, and to Supervisors Richmond, Pan, Ritt, Matano, and Hendrick for their support. I’m guessing there will be more! Just in case there are not, email your county board supervisor and ask them to support!, make sure to include your address so they know you live in Dane County! petition here! Sign and share!

Res __, 2014-2015
Funding for a Centrally Located Permanent Day Resource Center

Since early 2012, Dane County has been working on establishing a comprehensive day resource center for the homeless. On September 20, 2012, the Dane County Board of Supervisors adopted Sub.1 to Res. 84, 2012-2013, committing capital funds in the 2013 budget to fund a day resource center that would be centrally located and convenient to transit. The 2013 Capital Budget included $600,000 to purchase and renovate a facility to serve as a permanent homeless day resource center. On February 1, 2013, Recommendations for a Permanent Day Resource Center for the Homeless was submitted to the Health and Human Needs Committee (“Day Center Report”), drafted by Human Services staff and approved by the Homeless Issues Committee, was submitted to the Health and Human Needs Committee and the report was received the following week by the Dane County Board.

The Day Center Report provides, in relevant part:

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.

The County issued a request for proposals and the two respondents were rejected because they were not centrally located. Working within the existing budget authority of $600,000, on August 13, 2013, the Homeless Issues Committee recommended that the site RFP be re-issued with expanded geographic boundaries and that the location be within walking distance of a bus line with frequent bus service and bus service on weekends and holidays. The RFP was revised and reissued and the lone response filed by the September 20, 2013 deadline was from Madison Area Rehabilitation Center for their property (“MARC-East”) at 3939 Lien Road.

When the 2014 Budget was adopted, it was anticipated that the MARC-East property would be pursued by the County and that it would be available on or about June 1, 2014. Operations funding for approximately six (6) months was included in the 2014 operating budget in the amount of $150,000, $50,000 each from Dane County, the City of Madison, and the United Way. The expectation was that the funding partners would commit to $50,000 each to fund the operations in the latter half of 2014 and funding from each would be doubled for 2015 and future years. When the budget was adopted, it was understood that MARC-East, because of its location, would require a robust transportation plan that would be prepared in early 2014, prior to a June or July opening.

On April 3, 2014, Dane County Executive Parisi announced that the County had an accepted offer to purchase for 1490 Martin St., owned by Porchlight, Inc. and currently operating as Hospitality House, a day center serving up to 40 people. Under the plan, Hospitality House (the only day center open on weekends) would close in August, when renovations would begin, and the renovated county-owned facility, operated by SHINE 608, would open November 1, 2014.

On April 10, the first neighborhood meeting with the Arboretum Neighborhood Association was held and several concerns were identified, including the need for sufficient resources to transport homeless persons from downtown overnight shelters and sleeping areas to the Martin Street site. Following the meeting, it was learned that United Way was not committed to funding any operations beyond the first quarter of 2015.

The Day Center Report stated that the temporary day center at 827 E. Washington provided services to approximately 125 or more people per day. Subsidizing bus fares to and from 1490 Martin Street for 125 people at full price would cost $182,500 per year. Only $32,500 in transportation funding for 40 hours of van service from Porchlight, Inc. has been secured. Additionally, due to the continued need for services downtown, it is expected that Dane County would continue to fund Bethel Lutheran’s homeless services program Monday through Friday at $30,00 per year even after the new center opens.

Funding two day centers, one comprehensive day resource center miles from downtown, and another one that does not provide comprehensive services downtown, is inefficient. The transportation costs necessary to adequately support 1490 Martin St. are unsustainable. A downtown location for the permanent comprehensive day resource center is necessary to contain operating costs for the facility and ensure that homeless persons can access a facility for showers, laundry and other stabilizing services.

Now therefore be it resolved, that the 2014 Capital Budget be amended to allocate $4,000,000 for the purchase of a centrally located permanent homeless day resource center, within walking distance from downtown overnight shelters, and consistent with language of Res. 184 and the Day Center Report.

Be it further resolved, that Dane County real estate and human services staff present a report to the Health and Human Needs Committee within thirty (30) days, which shall include a description of all properties investigated, the costs and benefits associated with each property based on the Day Center Report and the status of any and all real estate negotiations with the seller and its agents.

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