In seeking a donation, Foundations For Living has stated their intention of purchasing 706 S. Main St. to replace the two houses they currently run: “We would use this house as a men’s transitional living housing facility…for six men receiving housing and services through Foundations for Living.”
One house to be replaced, 423 Bailey St., provides “transitional shelter for men who have recently been released from prison.” (County Post, Aug. 22, 2012)
According to state regulations, FFL would be required to be licensed for a facility with five beds or more (Their current houses, with three men to a house, are not required to be licensed). Section 50.03 (4) (g), Stats., states that “prior to initial licensure of a CBRF (Community-Based Residential Facility), the applicant for licensure must make a good faith effort to establish a community advisory committee.”
In pursuing this location, there has been no public disclosure to the immediate neighborhood of intention.
There has been no offer of documentation of degrees in psychology or social services by house managers or of certifications in the management of such a facility.
Most importantly, there is no documentation of the recidivism rate to success ratio in the two houses they currently run.
By their own admission, “Sometimes, we can help people, sometimes we can’t.”
In the Feb. 6 County Post article, Robin Madson states, “We would never put anybody in the house who was a threat to the other people living there or to the community.”
FFL has only been operating actual housing since late summer 2012.
How can they know the impact on a neighborhood or community after only six months?
How do they know who is a threat and who isn’t?
What is their criteria?
What statistics can they offer to show there is no threat?
“Madson stressed the program provides transitional living … at least six months and for no more than two years.”
How can an inherently transient facility for ex-convicts be a safe neighborhood addition in a house where oversight is by “house managers … who oversee the residents and their compliance … grandfather figures who focus less on the house rules and more on how the residents are coping with the changes occurring in their lives”?
If FFL’s current housing situation is working for their charges and “the goal is that after two years, participants in the program have developed the job skills and personal habits that will allow them to succeed on their own,” they should take at least that amount of time to build a foundation of confidence within the community with solid statistics on efficacy and safety before replacing those current locations with a house on the main thoroughfare 500ft from South Park which is, especially in summer, heavily traveled by unattended children on their way to the beach.