Well, the effort to open a year-round day resource center for the homeless in Madison continues. Sometimes it seems there’s more flailing than clear direction. Pat Schneider reports on the latest site under consideration, Porchlight’s Hospitality House. It’s rather closer to downtown than the site they’d been looking at on the east side. Neither site is ideal. Apparently there is nothing available downtown, probably due to a combination of our hot real estate market and the unwillingness of property owners and neighbors to host such a facility.
Hospitality House presents certain challenges. Although it is on a bus line, transportation is still an issue. Porchlight has operated a van service from downtown with varied levels of success over the years and it’s likely that many who would make use of it if it were downtown will simply not bother if it’s too much trouble (or expensive to get there).
It will need significant renovations before it can provide showers and laundry facilities, two things high on any list of day center necessities. It’s also not clear whether the space will be adequate to offer space to other agencies’ representatives to assist guests with housing, job counseling, and other services.
The chief advantage of the County’s plan, and the key to its success, is that the County expects the center will be run by Sarah Gillmore and the Shine Initiative. Sarah successfully designed and led last winter’s successful day center.