I want to work hard to keep each of them safe and healthy, no matter what obstacles they face. Here are some ways I am striving for that goal:
More commonly known as “The Beacon,” The Beacon Homeless Day Resource Center has assisted an average of nearly 200 people per day in the past year, including families with children, in getting their basic needs met.
Since the facility opened in October 2017, The Beacon and its partner agencies have assisted dozens of individuals in ending their homelessness by helping them find safe, permanent housing. This budget includes $67,000 in new county operating dollars (bringing Dane County’s total commitment to $239,000) to ensure The Beacon continues its success.
A year ago, Porchlight’s Safe Haven almost closed after it did not receive a significant portion of the federal dollars it uses to operate its housing services. County government agreed, along with other partners, to help bridge that funding gap so some of the more vulnerable members of our community would have housing this year. My budget has $210,000 to continue assistance for Safe Haven, including $160,000 of county tax dollars along with an additional $50,000 in outside revenue.
This budget bolsters Dane County’s Eviction Prevention Fund I created a few years ago to help bridge the gap for families on the verge of eviction and homelessness because of sudden life circumstances. Administered by the County’s Joining Forces for Families offices, I am adding $50,000 in new money to the fund, making $150,000 available next year. At the request of the Homeless Consortium, I’m funding $50,000 for a new housing navigator to help young adults obtain permanent housing who may otherwise face challenges finding a place to call home.
A few years ago, I included money in the county budget to help veterans better access service and care. Referred to as the “Vets Ride with Pride,” this initiative has assisted hundreds of veterans over the years with bus passes ensuring they can make medical appointments. Over time the need for this assistance has grown with nearly 150 vets being assisted already this year. I’m adding $10,000 in new money, totaling a $40,000 budget for County Veterans’ Service Officer Dan Connery to continue administering Vets Ride with Pride in 2019.
The budget includes a 3.5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the county’s service providers. The work done by employees with all our human services caregiver partner agencies makes a real difference in people’s lives every day. It’s often done under difficult circumstances with individuals who have great needs. Their tireless compassion for others is well deserving of this significant COLA.