Occupy group removed from Lake View Park
Homeless group moved to Token Creek Park
MADISON, Wis. — A group of homeless people calling itself “Occupy Madison” was removed from an encampment in Lake View Park Tuesday, days after Dane County leaders asked the group to leave the park.
Deputies arrived at the park at about 8 a.m., blocked off the entrances and took down the group’s campsite, according to Brenda Konkel, an advocate for homeless people and a former Madison alderwoman.
The group was moved to Token Creek Park.
The group said the county’s offer to let them stay at Token Creek Park is not a viable option because there is no transportation for those who need to get to jobs downtown.
“It’s (Madison Mayor Paul) Soglin’s one-way bus ticket out of town, I guess without giving our belongings a ride out there as well. But it’s very frustrating for the people who are here,” Konkel said.
Members of the group said they’re being treated unfairly and the county is not offering realistic solutions.
Konkel said the group claims Madison shelters will not work for them and the county isn’t listening to their concerns.
“(Dane County Executive) Joe Parisi could have sat down and talked with us, could’ve worked something out. Instead he wasted lots of taxpayer dollars trying to push us around,” Konkel said. “This is the county that’s supposed to be helping them and protecting them, and they’re not doing it.”
Konkel also claimed that the shelters have bed bugs.
The Grace Episcopal Church shelter recently had bed bug sightings but they’ve since been cleaned up. Porchlight Inc. said it’s stepping up inspections for bed bugs at shelters.
The Salvation Army of Dane County said bed bugs were found last year but regular inspections are performed and they haven’t had any issues.
Steve Schooler, of Porchlight, said there’s no reason for the homeless not to stay at area shelters.
Dane County officials said the shelter system isn’t perfect and they’ve worked with the group and individuals to offer help.
If the group wants to continue to camp out, Dane County leaders said they need to do it legally with the appropriate permits.