A city homeless shelter plans to open its reserve spaces to homeless people displaced from the Occupy Madison site after a city decision to close the site last week.
Porchlight Inc. Executive Director Steve Schooler said Occupy Madison participants may also be among those individuals who will benefit from Porchlight’s measure to open one of its extra shelters.
Porchlight, a company that provides yearround services to the homeless, announced it will open up an overflow shelter to those individuals in need, Porchlight Resource Development Director Beatrice Hadidian said.
This measure will also affect other individuals besides those of Occupy Madison, as Porchlight will cease to enforce its 60-day stay policy, Schooler said. In effect, this will allow current residents of the shelter to have an extra 30 days of stay, Hadidian said.
“We’re saying basically to everyone, OK, the 60-day limit no longer applies in May – that’s just not the Occupy Madison people, but that’s anyone,” Schooler said.
The company has three shelters, although all three are not always open at the same time, Hadidian said. During the summer months, the company can save money by closing some of the sites down, as demand for them is not as high as in the winter.
Because of the potential consequences that closing the Occupy Madison site may bring, one of the overflow shelters will be reopened for the month of May, Hadidian said.
The overflow shelter will open April 29 and is will be located at First United Methodist Church on Wisconsin Avenue, Hadidian said.
Schooler said the measure is by no means meant to serve as a permanent answer.
“We understand that it’s not a long-term solution, but that hopefully it will kind of alleviate some of the stress where people can determine what they are going to do next,” Hadidian said.
The shelter will provide temporary housing to those individuals in Occupy Madison that would otherwise have nowhere to sleep, Schooler said.
Individuals seeking to stay at the overflow shelter will need to meet the same requirements as usual, Hadidian said. The requirements include a no intoxication policy – due to its interference with the staff and other residents – and no threats of violence.
Other than the rules provided, anybody can show up and receive a hot meal, a place to do laundry, shower and short-term residency, Hadidian said.
Other services Porchlight provides includes pro bono law assistance and a free medical clinic.
“We do provide, with some support from the city and some support from the state outreach services … in terms of assisting [the homeless] – getting them into treatment services they need or housing they need – that type of thing,” Schooler said. “And that’s been ongoing, and will continue to go on.”
Last week Madison City Council opposed a measure that would allow individuals to remain at the Occupy Madison site, which is located on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. April 30 is the last day the site will be allowed to remain open.