Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

“Vital Steps to Build a Foundation:” County Nears Deal on Permanent Day Shelter, Ramps up Temp Services Until it Opens

November 26, 2013
County Board Chair John Hendrick, 608.446.4842
County Board

As Dane County nears the purchase of a facility to serve as a permanent day shelter and service center for people without homes, local leaders announced a collection of new services that will assist people in getting through this winter.


"There is a strong commitment in Dane County to help those who find themselves without a safe place to sleep at night,” said Supervisor Melissa Sargent, Chair of the Health and Human Needs Committee. “While we have taken vital steps to build a foundation of support we know that there is still work to be done to help our neighbors. I am looking forward to celebrating greater successes in the near future."


A number of budget amendments adopted by the County Board last week ensures that services will be improved in lieu of the new shelter opening. Bethel Lutheran Church on Wisconsin Avenue will provide daytime shelter for up to 80 people, in addition to helping people find and apply for jobs, housing, healthcare and other services. Additionally, private nonprofit Shine Initiative will assist people who congregate at the Madison Public Library, and the County will turn the title of a 15-passenger van over to Porchlight, Inc., and pay the local nonprofit to provide transportation for people who need it.


 "While I wish we could open it earlier, I am proud of our commitments to operate a permanent day center in 2014 and to continue to partner with innovative providers like Shine Initiative,” said Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner. “County staff have worked hard with the city to enhance existing day resources, increase transportation for the homeless, and support popular day programming."


A new permanent day shelter was to be open this fall, but high real estate prices delayed the County’s ability to make the purchase.


“The good news is the economy in Madison, especially the real estate market, is doing really well,” said County Board Chair John Hendrick. “The downside of that, though, is that it was very, very hard to find a building that would suit our needs and fit our budget. We are very optimistic that we’ll have news on that front soon.”


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