During a nearly 10-hour meeting on Tuesday night, Madison’s Common Council unanimously voted to approve a proposal to build a permanent men’s homeless center at 1902 Bartillon Drive.
The quest to establish a permanent men’s shelter has been a pressing concern as the pandemic shut down the city’s makeshift shelters. Downtown church basements have served as a safe haven for Madison’s homeless for many years but were unfit for social distancing.
The new shelter will accommodate up to 250 men. Community Development Director Jim O’Keefe says that the shelter will have resources to help address mental health and substance abuse through on-site services and connections to other resources in the area.
“This is not intended to be a warehouse for homeless men but a resource to connect them to housing,” O’Keefe said.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway emphasizes the claim that the shelter will act as a resource for homeless men in Madison.
“We are purposely building a shelter to give people a place to go and to connect to services and to connect to permanent housing, so we get to start from the ground up to think about what this population needs and how to design that into the building,” Rhodes-Conway said.
Although the cost of the project has not been determined, the city and the county have collectively allocated $9 million for the project. $3 million will come directly from Dane County, $4 million will come from the city and $2 million will come from American Rescue Plan Act funding.
Design plans are expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Construction is projected to start in early 2023.