Bartillon Drive homeless shelter plan gets $9 million boost

MADISON, Wis. — Madison’s planned men’s homeless shelter on Bartillon Drive took another step toward reality Tuesday.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced an added $9 million investment from the county to fund the project.

RELATED: ‘We don’t have anything like it’: Madison announces plans for purpose-built men’s homeless shelter

The county pledged $3 million this year to build the new shelter. Now Parisi will add another $6 million to his 2023 Capital Budget, making the shelter the largest capital investment in the budget.

“Addressing homelessness requires a holistic approach and a continuum of services,” Parisi said. “It cannot work without partnership and cooperation among all levels of government and the community.”

The City of Madison already allocated $10 million for the shelter, and in March Rep. Mark Pocan announced that $2 million of federal funding had been earmarked for the project. Tuesday’s announcement brings the total funding for the shelter to $21 million.

“We wouldn’t be here today and we wouldn’t be making these commitments if we didn’t believe that this facility will be transformative,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Nobody chooses to be homeless and yet each year hundreds of our family members, our friends, and our neighbors face that challenge.”

The city is currently using the former Fleet Services Building on First Street as a homeless shelter, but will soon move people to a temporary shelter at a building on Zeier Road.

The Madison Common Council rejected a proposal last year to turn the Zeier Road building into a permanent shelter after nearby business owners raised concerns that their businesses would be negatively affected by the shelter.

RELATED: Madison Common Council rejects plan to buy proposed men’s shelter site

The new Bartillon Drive shelter is expected to feature restroom, shower, kitchen and laundry facilities, spaces to isolate and quarantine and services to help shelter users find stable housing. Rhodes-Conway could not give a firm set of dates for the building’s construction but said that work on the site is set to begin in 2024.