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County Executive to Invest Additional $1.5 Million to Support Construction of New Shelter for Men Experiencing Homelessness

September 25, 2023
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

2024 Budget Item Brings County’s Contribution to the First Purpose-Built Emergency Overnight Shelter to $10.5 Million

MADISON – Dane County will add another $1.5 million to its contribution to the community’s first purpose-built emergency overnight shelter for men in his 2024 budget proposal, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.

The funds bring the County’s total brick and mortar investment in the facility to $10.5 million. The additional funding will help increase daytime programming and services space for shelter guests, implement sustainability measures to reduce long-term operating costs, and support the installation of critical back-up systems to ensure the shelter will continue to operate if there’s a power outage.

Several shelters in downtown Madison had to close temporarily when a transformer fire caused a massive power outage on Madison’s Isthmus on one of the hottest days of the summer in 2019. Agencies and emergency responders acted quickly to continue services to guests until power was restored later that day.

“Emergency shelter plays an integral role in helping our neighbors experiencing homelessness move into housing and achieve economic stability,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “A safe, welcoming shelter space with consistent connection to case management and community services goes hand in hand with the County’s ongoing efforts to increase access to and availability of new affordable housing units.”

The shelter, to be constructed at 1904 Bartillon Dr. in Madison, will be the community’s first purpose-built shelter—the first shelter designed and constructed for this use. For decades, area shelters were operated out of multiple smaller spaces, such as church basements and other renovated spaces.

The lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated community support for a new men’s shelter, even more so after larger, temporary shelter space set up by the City of Madison resulted in better service outcomes for guests. The County is a proud partner in the City of Madison’s efforts to lead the development of the new men’s shelter.

“This commitment moves us one step closer to having our community’s first, and long-overdue, purpose-built shelter where residents can connect to housing navigation services and other resources that will help them on their journey to more permanent housing. The City greatly appreciates the partnership with Dane County in this endeavor, and County Executive Parisi’s leadership in moving it forward,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway.

Once complete, the shelter is anticipated to serve up to 250 guests and offer a variety of services provided by long-time partner and shelter operator, Porchlight, and through on-site agency partnerships and community referrals. In addition to having basic needs met, shelter guests will receive assistance to connect to services that include housing, behavioral health, medical, and employment supports. The total estimated capital funds set aside for the project now total $23.5 million.

In addition to capital funding, the County Executive’s 2024 budget continues the County’s $376,251 investment to support operating costs at the men’s shelter. Dane County has supported emergency overnight shelter operations for households experiencing homelessness for decades. Of the more than $3.8 million in county funding invested in efforts to prevent and end homelessness, more than 80% supports emergency shelter services, including The Beacon Day Resource Center. Dane County is the second largest funder of homeless and housing programs in Dane County, behind only the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

More information on the men’s shelter program can be found online at

For more information about current shelter services, please visit

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