MACH OneHealth and Kabba Recovery Services Statement on Being Chosen as Operators for First City-Sanctioned Sheltered Encampment
Madison Area Care for the Homeless (MACH) OneHealth and Kabba Recovery Services are honored to be chosen as operators for the first City of Madison sanctioned sheltered encampment. We are committed to providing a positive experience for people who are living unsheltered in this community who choose this location. While we are aware this program will not work for all, we believe it is a viable alternative for some. Given the recent increase in unsheltered residents, we are pleased that the City of Madison has stepped forward with this option for housing. Our hope is it will be one of several measures options to address homelessness in our community.
“This project begins to fill an important gap in services in our community.” said attorney Deb Lange, Treasurer for MACH OneHealth. “Housing is healthcare, it’s one of the core beliefs of our organization, and this project fits very well with our mission.”
We know this project will not be without its challenges. As we say in the office, “it’s going to be a bit of an adventure.” However, we are up for the challenges that lie ahead and prepared to be flexible to meet the needs of the community as they arise. Transportation and isolation are the biggest concerns with the location, particularly pedestrian, bus and bicycle options. However, we have full faith and confidence that the City of Madison will continue to be a supportive partner with us as issues arise and throughout the project as they envisioned it.
“We are determined to make the best of this location and ensure that we provide people with a positive, healthier experience.” said Dr. Pam Alsum, President of MACH OneHealth. “MACH OneHealth volunteers and staff know that anyone in this community – ourselves, our friends, our family members, our neighbors – through some unfortunate circumstances, could need to live without a house and home, as did the people who will be dwelling in this shelter community. We want this project to be a model of compassion, dignity and respect for people living there.”
One benefit to this project is that we will have professional staff who are available to work with participants on housing, health, and other goals. We will have professional licensed social workers and counselors with decades of experience working with people who are experiencing houselessness. We will also draw heavily on the experience of the Occupy Madison tiny house villages as well as staff and medical volunteers at MACH OneHealth.
MACH OneHealth, in addition to staff, has over 65 volunteer doctors, nurses, medical professionals and other volunteers who regularly provide street medicine, street outreach, footcare clinic, medical clinics at the Beacon and men’s shelter, medical follow up and accompaniment to appointments. Additionally we recently surveyed over 250 people experiencing houselessness for our Community Health Needs Assessment that will be completed this fall and serve as a guide for us to further expand and improve our programs.
Kabba Recovery Services is a multicultural, State of Wisconsin licensed outpatient treatment center skilled in providing outreach, education, and treatment to clients and the greater community. We provide evidenced-based treatments, including trauma-informed social and behavioral health services, harm reduction, motivational interviewing, and solution-focused treatment. Our team has been providing homeless street outreach services for the past 3 years, building positive relationships with those we serve.
“Our team is excited to be part of this incredibly important project. We hope to demonstrate just how beneficial it is that people experiencing homelessness have a safe space with skilled professionals assisting with stabilization and finding housing,” said Sara Allee-Jatta, Clinical Director of Kabba Recovery Services. “We are honored to work alongside MACH OneHealth, who we feel complements our team greatly”.
We also know we will have many supportive community partners such as Catalyst for Change, Urban Triage, Friends of the State Street Family, First United Methodist Church and many other non-profits, grassroots and faith based organizations and we are grateful to them for sharing their resources, skills, time, compassion and respect for the people who will be living in the sheltered encampment.
“As the project unfolds, we are committed to working with the people living in Reindahl Park and possibly people in other encampments, the community, the city staff, elected officials, local businesses and others to ensure that the encampment at Dairy Drive will be successful.” said Brenda Konkel, encampment project coordinator and Executive Director at MACH OneHealth.