Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 11:52am

Today Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that they have found a location for a permanent men’s shelter on the East Side of Madison. A new facility at 2002 Zeier Road will provide a home for shelter services that have been operating out of temporary facilities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and, before that, operated out of cramped quarters in downtown churches for the past 35 years.

This site was selected after an extensive search by City real estate, which examined dozens of possible locations including nearby 4111 East Towne Blvd which the City and County had previously tried to acquire for this purpose.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how critical it is for us to provide shelter for everyone,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “Our goal is to develop a purpose-built shelter facility to support single homeless men that will offer a full range of supports that can lead its users to more stable long-term housing.”

The need for modern facilities to house the homeless has long been known. The City and the County have worked together cooperatively to rapidly house homeless families and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, moving people out of cramped quarters and into hotels and other accommodations to increase social distancing and reduce spread and exposure to COVID-19 in the congregate shelter system. Homeless men are currently sheltering at the City of Madison’s Fleet Building on First Street.

“Dane County is proud to partner on another project that cares for our most vulnerable, building upon our successes with the Beacon Day Resource Center,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “The $3 million I included in this year's county budget will go toward both acquisition and remodeling costs.”

The property being acquired is located at 2002 Zeier Road and the cost is $2.6M. The City and County each included $3M in their respective budgets to support the acquisition and renovation of property for use as a permanent men’s shelter.

The appeal of this acquisition is that it provides both a structure that can fairly quickly be converted to use as an overnight shelter and is large enough to accommodate a broader array of services, potentially including laundry services, kitchen services and more.

Moving forward, the task is to consult with the public and to build on conversations that have already begun regarding the scope of services to provide. Those decisions, to be made collaboratively by the City, the County and other community stakeholders will, in turn, determine the scale and design of a new facility.

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