At the July 13th Bassett Neighborhood meeting, I had the pleasure of joining Alder Mike Verveer as we answered questions about services available downtown for the homeless. We provided more details about a potential move of the Porchlight men’s overnight shelter currently operated out of Grace Episcopal Church on West Washington Avenue. The evening gave Alder Verveer, Steve Schooler, Executive Director of Porchlight, and me a chance to answer questions about the different services available for those who need help to get off the street and toward a better, healthier life.
Many Basset and surrounding neighborhood residents came to the meeting to ask questions about the potential move of the shelter that has been serving homeless men in downtown Madison for almost 3 decades. Many had learned of the potential move through a newspaper article that named the city building at the corner of Fairchild and Doty as a site being considered for the relocation. While the shelter move to Fairchild is far from definite, the meeting, with nearly 100 people present, served to help everyone learn more about available homeless services.
There were many other agenda items that evening so we had to conclude the discussion to get on to other items. This is why I proposed to CNI President Jeff Vercauteren that a CNI program be dedicated exclusively to the topic of homeless services that are available in downtown Madison. I hope you will be able to attend the now “Isthmus Neighborhoods” program that is scheduled for 7 PM August 26th in the Grand Hall at Capitol Lakes, 333 West Main Street.
The men’s shelter is just one of the many services that currently exist downtown. In addition to Porchlight shelters and housing units, many churches, other non-profit, and government agencies assist the homeless with everything from meals, showers, computers, counseling, to employment opportunities. Many are in locations in our neighborhoods. There is potential for more including a Day Resource Center.
On July 16th, the Dane County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution adding an additional $2 million to the 2015 budget to acquire a property to serve as a daytime shelter and service center for the area’s homeless. The resolution also called for the county to work with private nonprofit organizations, the faith community, the City of Madison and other local governments to develop a collaborative approach to find an appropriate site. Attending the August 26th program is a good time to learn about the services that will be available at a Day Resource Center likely to be located downtown.