Whew! Another day in the life of a (well, two) priests

I woke up this morning looking forward to a leisure-filled day. I don’t have to prepare a sermon for tomorrow so I thought I might work on a couple of projects around the house, do some reading, and maybe watch some football or a movie.

Then I read about the fire at Porchlight’s facility on Brooks St. last night. I thought about calling Steve Schooler to see if there was anything I could do, but I figured he would be inundated with phone calls of all sorts and having to deal with the crisis. I thought of the woman who I had just written a check for downpayment for an apartment in one of Porchlight’s facilities, and wondered if she was affected. I thought about St. Francis House, the immediate neighbor to the north of the Brooks St. building and whether we could do anything. Then my attention turned elsewhere.

Around 11:00, I got a call from my colleague, Andy Jones. He had just received a call from Steve Silverberg of LZ Ventures who were scheduled to take over St. Francis House for the redevelopment project that I’ve mentioned before on this blog. They volunteered to delay the handover so that Porchlight could use St. Francis House to house residents displaced by the fire. Bishop Miller approved the offer, and the board was polled via email.

Meanwhile, I was deputized to contact Porchlight because of my working relationship with them. I phoned Steve Schooler and drove over to St. Francis to show them the building. We discussed logistics and what not. They have found space for six of the residents in Porchlight facilities, but ten were still homeless. All sixteen have lost all of their possessions. We’ve been working on vacating St. Francis House for the redevelopment and the move, so much of the lower level of the building is in a mess, to put it mildly. I also made a call to the pastor of Luther Memorial Church, another neighbor of ours, to let us know what we had in mind.

I went home, began planning those projects, and drove off to Home Depot to buy some things I needed. In the parking lot, I got another call from Andy, letting me know that Madison Property Management has volunteered to help in any way with getting the space ready for occupancy, including staff to clean, and furniture.

Now that’s ministry. I don’t get those projects done today, however.

Red tape in the way of a day shelter in Madison

I’ve been blogging about the impact of the library and Capitol closures on the homeless in Madison (previous entries here, here, here, and here). We’ve been working on solutions. One of the most promising was to use a vacant car dealership, now owned by the city, as a temporary space through March. Pat Schneider reports on this development, and on the red tape the city has thrown up around it. She’s been doing a great job keeping on this story.

As Schneider observes:

Winter is bearing down, and I’ve got to wonder what sense requiring a landscaping plan makes for a property in Wisconsin that will be used November through March. Not much grows here then. Should planning for a temporary use like this really require restriping the parking lot? A public hearing makes sense, but is there a way to expedite the process to accommodate some of the city’s most vulnerable residents?

Hmmm.

Hmm, indeed!
One piece of good news. At least Savory Sunday has been given a permit to serve lunch in the Capitol on Sunday afternoons.