Dane Co. announces ‘Hotels to Housing’ investment plans to fight homelessness

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is announcing a new multi-million dollar investment over the next two years he says will help transition people experiencing homelessness from hotels into homes as the county continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $13 million investment over the next two months was announced during a virtual press conference Friday.

The county has been helping house people with nowhere to call home in hotels during the pandemic, with the goal of reducing shelter populations and communal living situations to prevent the spread of COVID among people experiencing homelessness. The program was slated to run through June 30th and will continue through August 31st thanks to support from federal COVID relief funding. So far more than 900 households in the county have been helped through the hotel program.

Parisi says under the “hotels to housing” initiative, people can get support for up to two years of rent and utilities, housing search help and case management support. He estimates it will help about 230 individuals and 67 families in the county find a long-term place to stay.

The money for the program this year will be coming from funding from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Parisi said, and will be included in his 2022 budget proposal.

Officials say they are looking for landlords who would be willing to take part in the program.

“It’s not like it’s a super risk for a landlord,” Parisi said Friday. “These are going to be very motivated people with some resources and assistance behind them, and it’s a really great opportunity to make a difference in our community and give someone a fresh start in life.”

Those interested in making apartments available for the program should contact the Catholic Charities housing navigation program or call 608-826-8117.