The Madison City Council approved a plan to rent 35 hotel rooms to provide housing for people camping in Reindahl park.
The City of Madison expects to rent the rooms at the Madison Plaza Hotel until June of next year, Madison Community Development Director Jim O’Keefe said. During that time, the city will provide counseling to the rooms’ residents and work to find them permanent housing, O’Keefe said.
“It’s really a two step process,” O’Keefe said. “To help get them out of Reindahl Park — which is not a healthy, not a legal, not a safe place for them to be in. .. And once they’re into a hotel and get a little bit stabilized to help them work on whatever it is that they need to get into permanent housing.”
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There are approximately 70 people camping at Reindahl Park, according to NBC 15. The encampment isn’t suited for people living there long term, with few stable sources of food and an unsafe environment, O’Keefe said.
Finding shelter for people experiencing homelessness before winter is crucial, District 8 Ald. Juliana Bennett said.
“We can’t have people living on the streets in Wisconsin,” Bennet said. “It’s just not humane at this point.”
Focus Counseling will be providing 24/7 support services to the hotel’s residents. The services will help the residents address whatever issues lead to them experiencing homelessness in the first place, so they can eventually find a permanent and stable home, O’Keefe said.
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This plan is being funded by $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan relief money. But O’Keefe said the hotel is one part of the City’s plan to house the Reindahl park inhabitants. The City will then attempt to move the rest of the people living in Reindahl park to a sanctioned campground with thirty small shelters.