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Homeless need homes, not resource center -- Marsha Cannon
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Homeless need homes, not resource center -- Marsha Cannon

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Solving the homeless problem takes more than moving people to 1326 E. Washington Ave. during the day.

If part of the goal, as the State Journal editorial on March 4 states, is to create “a more enjoyable Downtown,” I say the real priority should be housing, not shipping the homeless off to a comprehensive day resource center located one-and-a-half miles east of the City-County Building.

The unsheltered need a safe place to live. Housing has all the comforts of a resource center, including a shower, laundry, a kitchen, storage and a mailing address. Once housed, the formerly homeless easily can be found and assisted.

Dane County officials have wasted five years trying to create a comprehensive day resource center. They just spent $1.42 million on a broken-down building 13 blocks from the Square. More than $1 million will go for repairs and improvements plus interest. Annual operating costs will be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead, let’s focus public resources on a real solution. Sell the Messner building and use the proceeds to house the homeless. Put a center Downtown in a public structure such as the city’s building at 120 S. Fairchild.

-- Marsha Cannon, Madison

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