Madison’s debate about homelessness continues

You don’t have to go further than Madison.com to see our dysfunction. Mayor Soglin is in the news again for wanting to bring in private security guards to monitor homeless people in the City County building. The article points out some of the problems caused by the regular presence of homeless people in and around the building, and also cites County executive Joe Parisi’s opposition to the proposal. The projected cost is $42,000, money that might be better spent on providing services to those who need them–like showers, rest rooms, and, perhaps even, some housing.

Also today, news finally broke that the County is hoping to purchase a facility on the east side for a permanent day center. I had a chance to tour the facility last month. It needs some renovations, especially additional bathrooms and showers, the location isn’t great, but it has great potential with ample space not only for a day resource center, but also for other agencies that work with homeless people. Unfortunately, the current owners won’t be vacating until spring, and the facility probably won’t open before summer. In the absence of such a facility this winter, homeless people are pretty much forced to seek shelter wherever they can, including the City-County Building.

We’ll see how the dynamics of these two stories play out.

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