Initially created to help families meet basic needs during the pandemic, Dane County and Second Harvest’s “Farm to Foodbank” program has opened new doors to what is possible when local growers connect with agencies who keep people fed. Since its debut, the partnership has brought in and boxed over $20 million in food for families across the area. This provides economic security for local agricultural producers and healthy meals for those struggling to meet the cost of filling a grocery cart. Parisi’s budget continues the Farm to Foodbank program through 2023 with $6 million.
Parisi is also including $1.5 million in his budget for The River Food Pantry to help Dane County’s largest pantry grow and meet increasing needs. The River serves well over 2,000 people each week through its various programs. All of this takes room for staff and volunteers to work, and The River is on the lookout for a new facility. It has started a capital campaign to acquire land and construct a building that can host the wide variety of food systems work The River does. Parisi’s budget provides funds to jumpstart fundraising for a new home to coordinate the basic needs it helps meet in the community
Dane County was recently notified the rental assistance program it established with the City of Madison and other community partners during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dane CORE 2.0, will receive an additional infusion of nearly $27 million in federal support. This means the work helping families stay in their homes will continue into 2023.
The Heart Room helps families find housing stability with case management and rental support. The project came together through the efforts of a local congregation, Orchard Ridge Church, in partnership with Dane County’s Joining Forces for Families (JFF) program and non-profit housing provider The Road Home. Parisi’s budget invests $20,000 to expand this successful initiative to serve more families.
The 2023 county budget has a $6 million investment for a new permanent shelter for men experiencing homelessness, increasing the county’s share for a new shelter to a total of $9 million. That figure matches the contribution to the project by the City of Madison.
Parisi’s capital budget includes $6 million for the Dane County Affordable Housing Development Fund. Over the last 8 years, the fund has invested over $31 million dollars in projects to support the creation of 2,429 housing units, including more than 2,201 units of affordable housing across Dane County.
Housing is the number one issue Dane County’s Joining Forces for Families (JFF) face. The work staff do is time intensive and tailored to each individual family they work with. Parisi’s budget adds an additional housing specialist within Dane County’s JFF at a cost of $91,700.
Parisi is including $4.82 million in his budget to raise the county’s funding support to purchase of service agencies with an across the board 9% inflationary increase. He is hopeful this increase—likely the most substantial one-year jump in funding in the county’s history—will help these agencies fill vacant positions, retain existing workers, and enhance core service delivery.
Parisi’s 2023 budget prioritizes emergency services for those facing the fear and uncertainty of how to leave abusive living situations. $1 million is being allocated for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) to expand crisis intervention, prevention, outreach, and education efforts in the Dane County community. These funds will help DAIS add staffing and resources, improving the ability to respond to those in crisis.
The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County has pulled together a partnership to develop a new Skilled Trades Training Center, creating a new pipeline in the Dane County community to connect and train young people with jobs in the trades. Parisi is including $1.5 million in the capital budget as Dane County’s contribution to the success of the work that is underway.
Parisi is also including $1.5 dollars for Mount Zion Church to develop a new Community Life Center that will include a food pantry, mental health services, areas for youth programming, and senior services. $1.2 million will go toward Dr. Alex Gee’s ongoing work to develop The Center for Black Excellence and Culture. Both projects are located on Madison’s southside.