Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Executive Announces Initiative to Keep Homeless Warm This Winter, Provide Emergency Shelter for Survivors of Domestic Violence

September 19, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Two new county partnerships will provide shelter services to keep individuals who are homeless warm this winter and address the mounting need for emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


”This plan ensures people will have a place to keep warm during the colder days that are ahead and protect survivors of domestic violence and their families by helping them access emergency shelter,” said Parisi.  ”The new partnerships we’re announcing today will expand the unrivaled amount of services the county currently provides to address two pressing needs this winter.”


Under the new initiative, the county will partner with Porchlight Inc. to open a day shelter facility at a county-owned building on Wright St. in Madison. 


Porchlight ran a similar facility that the City of Madison ceased the use of 2012.  At the shelter, Porchlight will offer staffing, programming, and transportation to and from the day center for homeless individuals seeking refuge from the cold winter weather. 


The county will also partner with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) to help provide emergency shelter to survivors of domestic violence who are fleeing their abusers.  DAIS currently runs a shelter to provide housing, but demand frequently exceeds capacity.  DAIS offers alternative emergency shelter, such as hotel room vouchers, but funding for this effort ran out earlier this year.  The county will provide the funds necessary to help DAIS perform this essential function through the remainder of the year ($15,000).


“The County Board is passionate about serving the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” said County Board Chair Scott McDonell.  “We have worked on the issues facing the homeless for several months and I am pleased the county is able to provide daytime shelter before cold weather sets in.”

The County Executive’s initiative also includes a directive to the county’s Department of Human Services to conduct an assessment of the more than $1.5 million in services the county currently provides to address homelessness.  The assessment will serve to identify potential gaps or overlaps in services, as well as better ways to utilize the funding during tough budget times.


The proposal is subject to the approval by the County Board’s Personnel and Finance Committee and the full County Board on Thursday night.  If approved, both the day shelter and emergency shelter funding for DAIS will be available on November 1st of this year.  The initiative is estimated to cost the county under $50,000 for services provided the remainder of the year.


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