FOX47 NEWS - Combatting Homelessness

Jeff Angileri
Sep 2, 2008, 10:15 PM

People used the podium to advocate for the homeless at Tuesday's Dane County budget meeting.

Some called for sweeping changes to combat homelessness in the county, focusing on preventative steps to solve what some consider a major nuisance.

Advocates for the homeless say the first day of school should be a wake-up call for the county.

We had hundreds of kids in our school district sleeping in a car, sleeping in a shelter, sleeping in the streets on their first day of school, said Lisa Subeck, YWCA coordinator

Several citizens asked that homelessness be a priority in Dane County, and called for increased drug and alcohol counseling, and inpatient treatment.

When somebody's ready to get treatment, that's the key. If you say 'sorry you have to wait two weeks,' it's too late, said Subeck.

Next year's budget proposal increases funding for homelessness programs from $18.4 million to $19.2 million.

Our goal was to be sure that vulnerable citizens are protected, that the community is protected against actions of vulnerable citizens, said Lynn Green, Dir. Dane Co. Human Services.

The budget increase comes as Dane County faces a huge influx in residents.

There will be 6,200 more of us next year, challenging us to budget for increasing caseloads and costs in almost all of our programs, said county executive Kathleen Falk.

Advocates for the homeless say helping people find jobs and apply for federal aid will save the county money in the long run.

Said Subeck, People are starting to talk about homelessness, people are concerned, people want to know how to get involved. People want this problem solved.

Because human services is such a huge part of the Dane County budget--more than 50 percent--people will have another chance to comment on it publicly.

Wednesday's meeting starts at 6pm at the Alliant Energy Center.


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