Dane Co. looks to extend pandemic hotel housing through September

Dane County Plaza Hotel homeless
WISC-TV/Channel 3000

MADISON, Wis. — As new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge and coronavirus cases increase again, Dane County is looking to extend its emergency hotel shelter program that has run through the pandemic.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Friday the county is proposing adding another $3 million to the effort, which would help extend non-congregate shelter and related post-shelter programs through September 30 of this year and extend isolation and quarantine shelter through February 28 of next year.

The program originally began in March 2020 as a way to help people without a home and at a higher risk of severe effects of COVID-19 find a safe place to stay.

RELATED: Parisi urges continuation of emergency hotel shelter program amid increased COVID-19 cases

“This program has helped hundreds of Dane County residents socially distance and get connected to helpful resources,” Parisi said in a statement Friday announcing the proposed additional funding.

The county says more than 400 different households have been helped by the hotel program through the pandemic, and hundreds of other vulnerable people have been able to take advantage of the isolation and quarantine shelter — including more than 110 at one time during the height of the Omicron surge in the fall of 2021 and winter of 2022.

Of the $3,123,950 that will be used to fund the extension, $700,000 will go to amend an existing contract with Equitable Solutions, LLC to provide on-site services for non-congregate hotel shelter and the payment of hotel room costs.

The money for the program is coming from Dane County’s allocated aid from the 2021 American Rescue Plan. So far, the county has used $23.1 million of those funds on the hotel housing program.

The $3 million total to extend the program still needs to be approved by the Dane County Board, but Parisi’s office expects the Board to authorize it in the coming weeks. The County Board’s next meeting is scheduled for July 21.