Safe Haven was "not a priority" for federal funds - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Safe Haven was "not a priority" for federal funds

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Porchlight's Safe Haven facility on Nakoosa Trail will shut down at the end of the year, leaving dozens of vulnerable people with uncertain futures. Porchlight's executive director said the federal money they typically receive will go to a different project after the shelter wasn't seen as a priority to the board that ultimately decided its fate. 

For 22 years, Safe Haven remained open from funding it got by the U.S Housing and Urban Development Agency, also known as HUD. It used to give the shelter $350,000 a year for it's services, including mental health assistance to its residents. 

But the facility will no longer receive that money. 

"Safe Haven didn't apply for the funds, so it's not even at this point that they're going to be cut," said Torrie Kopp Mueller, a coordinator for the Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County. 

She said the facility didn't reapply because they got word they were no longer a priority. 

"HUD prioritizes permanent housing and less and less priority (to) transitional housing and safe havens," Kopp Mueller said. 

When asked if Safe Haven would've had a fair shot at being funded if they applied, Kopp Mueller responded, "I don't know."

The board will likely give the money to Madison's coordinated entry program, a middle man that helps the homeless find homes, according to Kopp Mueller. 

"If we're going to end homelessness in our community, we really need that strong Coordinated Entry system so that we can identify folks and get them housed really quickly. And so it's one of those really tough choices," said Kopp Mueller. 

It's a choice that won't officially be voted on until September 8th, but it still won't change the fact that Safe Haven will close. 

"It would have been more challenging to say to our community, we're going to close four permanent housing programs in order to fund Coordinated Entry. It is obviously very challenging to say we are going to cut a shelter," she said. 

27 News reached out to the board's president who has not yet responded. 

Now, Safe Haven is left trying to find the funds it needs, elsewhere. 

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