The sum for all of Dane County’s human services budget initiatives total $231.1 million for 2020—the most significant portion of the county budget.
The 2020 budget creates the new Division of Housing Access and Affordability within Dane County Human Services. This group will be run by a new Dane County Housing Coordinator funded in this budget, supported by a new full time affordable housing analyst, and teamed with existing county staff who already work on federal housing and development funds like the Community Development Block Grant Program and HOME.
$3 million will be included for the Dane County Affordable Housing Fund in 2020. County Executive Parisi is also adding dollars for “The Beacon” to bolster its bus transportation program, add work hours for community navigators to help individuals locate housing, and assist the City of Madison with challenges that tend to present in the downtown area during the warmer summer months.
$66,000 will be used for more staffing at the Porchlight-run men’s night shelter to improve safety and services.
This budget adds $80,000 for Project Respect, a key community partner in advocating for victims of sex trafficking. These dollars will help with safety planning, crisis intervention, and intensive case management services to juvenile and adult victims of trafficking and help reunite them with families while stabilizing their living situations.
$45,000 will go to support DAIS advocacy work. Domestic violence is entirely unacceptable and is pervasive. The DAIS Help Line took 2,443 calls for help from victims seeking legal advocacy in 2018. These individuals support victims of domestic violence with safety planning and help navigate the legal system on everything from restraining orders to family and criminal court proceedings.
County Executive Parisi is expanding the incredibly effective Dane County Joining Forces for Families in the 2020 budget to two new areas. The JFF office expansions into Mazomanie and Marshall at a cost of more than $185,000 will allow existing staff to spend more time in other outlying communities. This change will double the JFF staff time in Stoughton starting next year. This budget also adds two new full time staff positions to JFF.
The eviction prevention dollars utilized by JFF staff kept nearly 300 Dane County families in their homes last year. Similar to the last couple of years, the County Executive is adding more dollars to this fund (additional $50,000 for 2020) that helps stabilize housing situations. This will bring the total budget of the eviction prevention fund in 2020 to $200,000.
County Executive Parisi is also bolstering dollars available to JFF staff to help families with transportation needs. By adding $50,000 in discretionary funding to JFF in this budget, the county can directly help more individuals with acute, emergent needs that when left unmet can lead to spiraling living situations.
In total, $285,000 is being added to JFF’s budget in 2020.
County Executive Parisi’s budget creates the new Office of Immigration Assistance within Human Services, adds another full-time bilingual social worker, and bolsters the county’s commitment to Centro Hispano to improve its ability to meet the needs of immigrant kids, parents, and families.
The 2020 Dane County budget includes a $500,000 grant program for community centers to launch new mental and behavioral health work for kids and families.
Childhood mental health, trauma, and poverty are all barriers to the future success of young people in the community. Neighborhood and community centers see firsthand the effects of mental health challenges and trauma on young people. To address this, County Executive Parisi’s 2020 budget includes $30,000 for community centers to offer training on trauma informed care to their volunteers and staff.
The County Executive’s 2020 budget proposal includes over $600,000 in new county funds for community centers to help address the mental health needs of its young people.