The Dane County Board of Supervisors has decided to delay a vote that would allow for a new veteran housing facility on East Washington Avenue.
The new housing facility for veterans and their families would replace the former Messner, Inc. building on East Washington Avenue, and the Board has delayed this vote in order to decide how much of the new building should be designated for homeless families. Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner of the Dane County Board has introduced an amendment that would specify that number.
Her amendment would designate eight of the units for homeless families on the Homeless Services Consortium priority list.
Wegleitner says the Board wants more time to consider the amendment in committee and allow members of the public to weigh in.
The County is working with Gorman and Company, a real estate developer based in Oregon, Wisconsin, which will demolish the Messner building to construct the new, 64-unit facility for veterans, should the proposal pass.
Nicole Solheim, development manager at Gorman, says the company aims to make their units very affordable and is open to setting some aside for homeless families.
The proposed facility would be five stories high with 64 units. Solheim hopes that by partnering with Dane County and Dryhootch, a non-profit organization connecting veterans and their families with housing and benefit support, community groups and mental health resources, the new building can meet many veterans’ needs. Dryhootch would open a cafe on the building’s ground floor.
In order for the new facility to eventually open, it first must be approved by the County Board.
“They’re looking for two million dollars from the county including the land donation, so I think it’s really important that it connects to our strategies to prioritize the most vulnerable and get people who are homeless into housing,” Wegleither says.
The proposal and its amendment are on the Personnel and Finance Committee meeting agenda for February 19, and public comment will be available.