Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon, and United Way Executive Director Renee Moe have announced that Dane County has an accepted offer to purchase the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce building for the purposes of a homeless day resource center. The County’s offer of $1.75 million was accepted this morning by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“This location is closer to downtown and other shelters, will be open faster, and is a better deal for taxpayers,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I want to thank all of our partners for their tireless work to provide a shelter that will help connect our community members who have fallen on hard times to critical services and the chamber for approaching us with this idea.”
The request for proposal for an operator of the Day Resource Center will go out next week. The County will take residency of the building November 1, 2016. Part of the building will be available for a day resource center this winter if needed. Minor renovations will need to take place before the facility opens. In the coming months, there will be County Board and City Council processes and community input in order to open the Day Resource Center.
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the County Executive’s office recently met to determine if their building would be a good site for a potential day resource center. After staff toured the property the county submitted an offer to purchase. The building was not on the market.
“The Chamber building has a history of fostering new beginnings and economic opportunity,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “I can think of no better location for this project and am pleased the Chamber can be a part of this community solution.”
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Building is closer to downtown than previous locations, located on a bus line, close to bike trails and has parking. The layout of the building is ideal to provide services and to operate a day shelter. The Messner property would have cost around $3.2 million including purchase and renovation. The Chamber building will cost at least $500,000 less for both purchase and renovation. Dane County still owns the Messner property further down East Washington. No determinations have been made to this point about its use.
The day resource center is intended to include private offices and meeting rooms to allow providers to meet confidentially with individuals and families and connect them to or provide them with community services, including employment and training, permanent housing, economic assistance, legal services, health care, mental health services, alcohol and other drug addiction treatment, and more.
The facility is also intended to provide for basic needs that are critical to many individuals and families experiencing homelessness, such as private, accessible showers, storage space for personal items, laundry facilities, meals, space to stay cool or keep warm, and access to haircuts, a kitchen, and food storage. Other features that may be included are access to telephones, a computer lab, a mail/message center, a day room, an outdoor area, areas for quiet resting, an area for families who may need to access services with their children, and more.
Parisi concluded, “This day resource center will be closer, faster and cheaper. We have never had this broad coalition of support from the public, private or non-profit sector for this project at any other location.”