UPDATE: County hoping to buy, upgrade homeless day shelter near - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: County hoping to buy, upgrade homeless day shelter near downtown

Posted: Updated: Apr 03, 2014 07:41 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County is hoping to buy Porchlight Inc.'s Hospitality House, located at 1490 Martin St., for $330-thousand.

Another $300-thousand or so would be used to remodel and expand the Hospitality House into what the county will call a 'day center.'

The county board allocated $600-thousand for the creation of a day center in this year's budget. The budget allotted $1.2-million total to combating homelessness in Dane County.

Hospitality House currently offers the homeless employment advice, housing assistance, transportation services, free meals and eviction prevention funds.

The county wants to buy the shelter and install showers and storage lockers. It would also provide resources to help those struggling with mental health or substance abuse.

"If you're going to a job interview, you need to take a shower," said County Board Chair John Hendrick. "You need some place to put your backpack."

Hendrick said the county would also like to install computers to help the homeless look for work. He said the ultimate goal is to help those in need find steady pay and get them into housing.

The proposal will need approval from Porchlight's board of directors and the Dane County Board before it can go forward. Hendrick and Porchlight Inc. Executive Director Steve Schooler said they're confident both bodies will approve the sale.

Schooler said the day center would be operated by the county and local organization Shine 608.

He said Porchlight Inc. would use funding from the sale to open it's own, more expansive facility elsewhere.

“We couldn't really provide for the expand space for services,” the county is able to, Schooler said. “The reason is that a part of this facility operates as a maintenance, donation center and warehouse for our other operations.”

Hendrick said the first year's operational costs at the day center would be split three ways between Dane County, the City of Madison and private donations. He said plans to find the day center beyond the first year haven't been finalized.

Hendrick said the county board could vote on the purchase as soon as May 1. He said the Hospitality House's current use as a similar type of resource center should eliminate the need for re-zoning procedures common to property sales. He said the county is also drawn to the building's location near downtown.

Construction could begin in August. The goal is to open the new day shelter in November.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane county is taking a major step forward in opening a new resource center for those in need.

Officials announced on Thursday they have secured an accepted offer to purchase Porchlight's Hospitality House facility in the Town of Madison.
They plan to offer a number of services for struggling individuals and families, including job search resources, counseling and housing assistance.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says, "We want this to be as much of a one stop shop as possible so people will have a place to come when they're in need of assistance and we can help them get connected to the services they need to get back on their feet."

Pending approval, construction and remodeling of the resource center is expected to begin in August, with the center expected to open by November.

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