With an eviction from their temporary location on the horizon, members of Occupy Madison are on the lookout for a more permanent location to house their movement.
Dane County officials notified Occupy Madison members they need to move out of their current location in Token Creek Park, a campground located just outside of the city, by Feb. 17, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, in order for the county to prepare the campground for the spring camping season.
According to Verveer, the group is facing a significant issue as they lack a relocation site after the eviction deadline. However, Verveer added the group is working on finding a permanent shelter.
“There aren’t really any good options that I know of for [a temporary location], but they have been working with government officials to assist them in planning what to do next,” Verveer said.
However, according to Verveer, the Occupy group is not interested in only camping out in tents.
The organization put forth a collective effort to acquire a building in Madison that would serve as a homeless shelter run by the members of Occupy Madison, according to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8. They are calling the proposed shelter, the Occupy Madison House, he said.
Although they have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Occupy Madison House, the proposal has not been put before the city because they do not yet have a location for the shelter, Verveer explained.
“I think the city will be open-minded when the movement comes back with a new funding request,” Verveer said. “Hopefully, they will be able to support a new permanent affordable housing opportunity.”
Addressing homelessness is now the primary focus of the Occupy Madison movement, Verveer said. While the worldwide Occupy movement started as a Wall Street protest in New York City, in Madison it quickly turned into a largely political movement on homelessness issues, he said.
Verveer explained many of the homeless inolved with the Occupy movement can no longer stay in the city’s homeless shelters due to the limits shelters have on the number of days people can use the facilities.
Despite the evictions, Resnick said he believes the group will eventually succeed in creating their permanent shelter.
“I feel like there is a lot of very positive energy being generated by the group — both in fundraising and community awareness,” he said. “I think they will find a site [for Occupy Madison House].”