City Council approves money for support services at apartment for homeless but denies funding for additional security

February 27, 2019

A troubled housing development for some of Madison’s trickiest cases of homeless families will get new support services but no money for extra security.

The Madison City Council approved one measure Tuesday to address a lack of social services at the 45-unit, $11.7 million apartment building at 7933 Tree Lane, which houses some of Madison’s most challenging cases of homeless families.

But it also denied a proposal by a vote of 12 to 7 to spend $165,000 to bolster security at the site.

Since it opened last June, the Far West Side apartment building -- Madison’s second Housing First project – has been dogged by frequent police calls for gunfire, fights and other disturbances.

It will also be left without a support services provider when YWCA Madison pulls out of the building in mid-March.

Now, the city will spend $275,250 for support programming while it seeks proposals from organizations to provide services beyond 2019.

The Road Home Dane County will provide case management and Lussier Community Education Center and Wisconsin Youth Company - Elver Park Neighborhood Center will offer youth programming.

Mayor Paul Soglin has also asked the city to pursue a nuisance abatement action against the apartment’s owner and manager, Chicago-based Heartland Housing, to force it to address behavior and crime concerns associated with the property.

The problems at the Tree Lane apartment come as Heartland tries to embark on another Housing First project on the South Side at 1202 S. Park St.

Judge Doyle Square project

The Council also voted to move forward with the Judge Doyle Square development downtown.

In separate proposals, council members agreed to award a nearly $8 million public works contract to JP Cullen and Sons to build the Podium portion -- which includes an underground parking garage -- of the project and to issue a request for proposals for the city’s portion of the project.

The city wants its part of the project, which sits on the block directly behind the Madison Municipal Building, to include some affordable housing and commercial space.

The city agreed last month to pay the project’s developer, Beitler Real Estate Services, $700,000 in exchange for the developer giving up rights to over half the Downtown project, to settle a dispute .

Beitler is set to build apartments and a hotel serving the Monona Terrace Convention Center on the block where the Government East parking ramp stands.

Rift in Southeast Asian community

Several in Madison’s Southeast Asian community clashed Tuesday night at the Madison City Council meeting over a proposal to provide more than $100,000 to a local organization for mental health and other support services for elders.

Dozens, including many elders of Madison’s Southeast Asian community, attended the meeting to oppose a proposed $115,000 contract for Anesis Center Marriage and Family Therapy for case management and elderly programming services, during public comments that lasted more than 2½ hours.

Many instead called for the money to be awarded to other organizations through a request for proposal process.

The council approved an amended version of the proposal which would allow other organizations besides Anesis to seek the funding. The council will also have to determine later whether the funding is to be used for case management or mental health services or another related purpose, such as transportation to appointments.

Need for funding arose in November when Journey Mental Health scrapped its Kajsiab House programming.

Edgewood High School proposal

In other action, the council referred Edgewood High School’s scaled-back plans to build a stadium on its athletic field to the city Plan Commission.

The plan only requires Plan Commission approval because Edgewood’s new proposal doesn’t involve any changes to its master plan and can be regulated by city ordinances.

The school originally sought to amend its master plan to add outdoor lighting and make sound system improvements, increase seating capacity and build a concession stand, ticket booth and team room space at the school’s Goodman Athletic Field.

Under the new plan, Edgewood would seek permits for outdoor lighting and sound amplification improvements only and said last week that it wouldn’t move forward with other changes.

Some in the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood have opposed Edgewood’s proposals, saying the changes would disrupt their normally quiet evenings with amplified sound, light pollution and increased traffic.