Residents applauded City Council members after they voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance which allows for the further development of Occupy Madison’s tiny houses project on East Johnson Street Tuesday night.
Other residents, who spoke against the development of the project in the City Council meeting, said they were nervous the tiny homes would degrade the value of their properties and creating loud noise in the neighborhood.
Occupy Madison spokesperson Brenda Konkel said the Occupy board has been to several neighborhood meetings to ensure the City’s concerns about the effects on the project on nearby neighbors are addressed. She said Occupy’s primary concern is with the community, so the organization is doing everything it can to help the homeless without disrupting neighbors.
Ald. Lisa Subeck, District 1, said she can empathize with the neighbors who are skeptical or nervous about the tiny houses coming to East Johnson Street. However, she said the project serves as an opportunity for the city to be innovative in attempting to solve the homeless issue.
“This is an opportunity for homeless folks to have a home and this will be an asset for the community in the long haul,” Subeck said.
Ald. Larry Palm, District 12, said he knows Occupy Madison will do whatever it takes to ensure the project is successful and safe. He added that the project is an experiment; if it fails, the city will revisit it.
Council members did acknowledge that much needs to be done still to help Madison’s homeless. Ald. David Ahrens, District 15, said while the program will address the issue, it will not be able to assist the thousands who are constantly homeless in the city.
He said solving the problem as a whole is an effort which needs to be carried out by all departments of the government collectively.