My 2021 Human Services budget totals $239,497,599. Similar to years past, this comprises the largest share—almost half—the total of the entire county budget. This safety net served Dane County well in 2020 and remains an area of pride and strength as the community heads into the continued unknowns of the months ahead.
In 2019, Dane County set out on its latest venture—development of a brand-new Behavioral Health Resource Center. Designed to address the difficulty in navigating behavioral and mental health care, this brand new, fully county operated and funded Center is now open.
My 2021 budget includes over $900,000—all county dollars—to cover the full cost of staffing this facility with clinically licensed behavioral health resource specialists, case managers, and a peer support specialist.
As COVID-19 permeates 2021, its economic fallout will only become greater. Affordable housing will be more challenging to come by as the number of families struggling to keep up rises.
I’m including $6 million in my budget for the 2021 Dane County Affordable Housing Fund. This will help build new housing projects across the county, including the City of Madison—creating opportunities for the growing number of families in need.
This budget also maintains the county’s rent assistance efforts through Joining Forces for Families, which I started and increased in previous budgets.
My 2021 budget continues county government's commitment to protecting those who struggle with homelessness.
Existing shelter capacity has reached a threshold where more needs to be done. Recognizing this, privately led efforts have sprung up in the past year about how to best address this need as a community.
Dane County will proudly partner in this work and serve as the primary capital contributor for purchasing the property and subsequent redevelopment for the most appropriate entity that steps forward ready and able to operate a new night shelter.
A $3 million county grant awaits the best partnership that comes together to meet this need in our community.
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.
In conjunction with the County Board of Supervisors, I’m including $300,000 to study the feasibility of developing a Behavioral Health Triage and Restoration Center that will not only be another bold step at improving mental health care in the Dane County community but also offers its next innovative effort to continue reforming the criminal justice system, reducing recidivism, and in turn the jail population.
It will not only help divert those in a behavioral health crisis away from jail or emergency rooms but also provide a place to safely stabilize the situation at hand while providing resources and mental health supports.