Mayor’s Remarks from Today’s Press Conference Regarding Planned Salvation Army Shelter
Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan were joined by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Major Shiels of the Salvation Army of Dane County to highlight a $4 million federal investment to help build a new emergency shelter and community center for families and single women experiencing homelessness planned for the Salvation Army site on East Washington. Senator Baldwin and Representative Pocan secured the funds as part of the bipartisan 2023 federal funding bill.
Mayor’s remarks at today’s event are below:
Just 3 years ago, the system by which we support residents in Madison who face homelessness was in crisis. Shelters operated out of converted old school buildings, like this one, and the basements of downtown churches.
And then, the pandemic struck.
It forced us to completely rethink and transform the way we serve these very vulnerable members of our community. In Madison, we rose to the occasion, with strong leadership from the City and County, a versatile network of dedicated service providers and a very timely and generous financial contribution from Congress.
We took advantage of unused hotel properties for persons susceptible to COVID infection, and converted City-owned properties to shelters for homeless men, convincing many to finally come in off the streets, and out of parks.
The City spent $3M to convert a former nursing home into a shelter the Salvation Army could use to serve families that had previously been sheltered right here – and more of them (FYI 35 vs. 24 families), freeing up more space for single women in the process.
The fact is that most of this would not have been possible without unprecedented financial support from the federal government, and for that we owe a debt of gratitude to Sen. Baldwin, Congressman Pocan and their colleagues in the Congress.
It is also the case that the needs of those in Madison who find themselves temporarily without housing will continue long after these federal funds have been depleted.
And yet, today, I can say without hesitation that the future is bright.
For our community is poised to do something we have never done – make investments in not one, but two, purpose-built shelter facilities that will be worthy of those who need and rely upon them – one for men, the other right here, for families and single women.
I applaud the Salvation Army for its decades-long commitment to serving those in need in Madison.
And I thank Major Shiels and his team for their longstanding partnership with the City, and for moving forward their vision for a full service facility for families and single women.
Efforts like these require vision, and they require commitment and collaboration – from all levels of government, from non-profit community partners and, yes, from the private sector.The $4M that Senator Baldwin and Congressman Pocan have secured for this project, and the $2M previously secured for the men’s shelter, are critical pieces of financing for projects that will have a powerful and tangible impact on the lives of many people who need shelter and a path back to stable housing.
And so on behalf of the City, and the teams that are hard at work planning these exciting ventures, I want to thank you, Senator Baldwin and Congressman Pocan, for your good work in getting these funds approved, and for your ongoing efforts in helping provide the resources we need to be successful.
I look forward to joining you at a future grand opening.