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Should Madison Library Be The Hope For Homeless?

August 21, 2013

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Finding real solutions for the homeless in Madison continues to be one of the most unsettling stories that keeps getting pushed off into the future.  There is no way not to notice the problem, and be troubled by it.  From walking around the Capitol area, to reading news accounts there is no shortage of evidence to show that a real problem exists.  What is most troubling  to me is that we are a rich city and have the means to work at crafting remedies.  But we keep failing at the job.

The latest news that makes me wonder if we do not need new faces with fresher ideas involved in the process of finding a way forward comes with the knowledge that as fall beckons and winter follows there is not  a permanent day resource center for the homeless.    But had there not been assurances things were moving in a positive direction for a place with lockers, showers, meals and connections to housing, job and social services?  After all in November 2012 the Dane County Board allocated $600,000 to build or purchase a space designed for that very purpose.  My  member of the county board,  John Hendrick, even opined such a place might be open by July 1st.

As I write on August 21st there is not even a site found for a facility to be placed.

But there is a new building in Madison that is being suggested as a remedy given the inability of ‘the system’ to have a real plan in place.

Officials also hope the renovated Central Library, which will reopen in September, can take some of the pressure off the homeless services.  “We have to acknowledge that will be reopening and back in the mix,” says Green. “The library has been wonderful to acknowledge they’re a service for everybody.”   Green, is director of Dane County Human Services.

For anyone with a conscience this is totally unacceptable.  There is no way the library should be expected to be the warming house and sleeping center during the day time for the homeless.  It is also not fair for the patrons of the library to deal with some of the issues that a percentage of the homeless have as a result of not having access to the programs that can assist them.

If it is not proper to foist every social problem into the classroom for a school teacher to deal with, then it also is not proper to use the local library as the default location for the homeless.  Especially when the local officials dropped the ball on this matter in a most dramatic and troubling way.

New ideas, and more important new faces are needed at election time to steer the way forward on this matter.

2 Comments
  1. Solly permalink
    August 21, 2013 9:33 PM

    John Hendricks was too busy worrying about raising Scott McDonell’s pay as county board chairman by 25%, McDonell collects for a year, then gets elected as county clerk, and guess what, Hendricks takes over as county board chairman at the higher salary. Nothing to see here folks. In the meantime, they make county employes take effective pay and benefit cuts, cut a long-time county employe who created the county board legislative office, and then a year later are CONTRACTING OUT for a $60,000 PR hack contract (reputed to be McDonell’s buddy). Now they are adding a policy analyst. Gee, a year ago, you said that work wasn’t needed and you could fund the pay raise with cutting a full-time employe. If Scott Wanker did that, they’d be screaming bloody murder. John Hendricks is in for John Hendricks. And Scott McDonell is incompetent as County Clerk. A couple months ago, he was using an old roll call sheet and called his own name, months after a replacement was elected. The self-righteous Madison liberals make Dave Blaska look like Jeremiah, and he ain’t.

  2. BadgerBabe permalink
    August 21, 2013 8:43 PM

    Let’s not forget the Downtown Library is also expected to be a de facto day care center. What a pity the library can’t be a place where members of the community can borrow books, access reference material, utilize new technology, and be a place to learn. That really is a huge mission. It shouldn’t become a social service agency for homeless persons and a dumping ground for children whose parents/guardians can’t afford (or won’t pay for) child care. Thanks for putting into words something that NEEDS to be presented to city residents.

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