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County looks to buy homeless center for $330k | Community Spirit

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County looks to buy homeless center for $330k
County looks to buy homeless center for $330k

Dane County has made an offer to buy a Madison homeless resource center from a nonprofit group on the city's south side.

The $330,000 deal would make Hospitality House at 1490 Martin St. county property, and more Dane County funds would be allocated to expand the facility this summer, according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi's office.

But first, the Dane County Board and Porchlight Executive Board have to approve the purchase.

Porchlight, a nonprofit group that provides resources and housing to homeless people in the Dane County area, operates three shelters in Madison. Hospitality House, Porchlight's daytime shelter, provides job counseling, housing assistance, transportation, meals, mail services and eviction prevention funds.

The expansion would add laundry and shower facilities to the Martin Street building. Services to help clients with mental health and substance abuse issues would also be expanded with a continued partnership with Shine 608, another area homeless resource provider. Porchlight Executive Director Steve Schooler said the transfer of Hospitality House to the county would allow for more services to help area homeless.

"There has been a tremendous need for showers, laundry and storage facilities to serve homeless individuals and families," Schooler said in a news release. "This much larger, one-stop facility ... will help assist homeless persons toward overcoming homelessness." 

The estimated annual cost of operating the day resource center for a year is $300,000. Several Madison organizations have committed funds to support the project, including $50,000 from the City of Madison, $50,000 from The United Way, plush $75,000 from Downtown Madison Inc. to help with building renovations.

The 2013 county budget included $1.2 million to go toward new services and programs for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, including $600,000 for the purchase and renovation of a day resource center. Hospitality House was chosen because of its successful operation in the area for years, Parisi's office said.

Construction and remodeling of the day resource center could begin in August and the renovated facility would open in November, pending timely approval of the purchase offer, according to Parisi's office.

The offer to purchase Hospitality House will be presented to the Dane County Board at its meeting Thursday night, according to the Dane County Executive's Office.

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