A proposal by Madison's mayor to provide the homeless with one-way bus tickets out of town will likely not move forward. Mayor Paul Soglin wanted to spend $25,000 in the next budget on a program he calls "Helping Hands Homeward."
Soglin blames some of his political foes for misrepresenting what the program is about, which he says caused a city budget committee to kill it.
"They've likened it to something called 'Greyhound therapy' which is you simply round up homeless, give them tickets, and get them out of town," he said. "Without any regards to their condition, without any regards to where there home is, where there family, friends and their services are."
But Soglin says that his program would have provided bus tickets only to homeless who wanted them because they had somewhere sound to go. Other cities -- like New York City, Fort Lauderdale, and Colorado Springs -- have similar programs.
He says a big problem is that many homeless people end up in Madison because they've been bused here from other cities. But Steve Schooler, the Executive Director of Porchlight, a non-profit which operates homeless shelters in Madison says he doesn't think that happens often. And he's not sure he sees a need for the $25,000 program.
"It's certainly not necessarily very effective in dealing with homelessness in general," he says. "Unless, again, you're actually putting people someplace where they have resources and families and some hope of overcoming homelessness. But even beyond that we have not seen at least to my knowledge an influx of people from any particular city or any particular town where it appears that in fact there has been this program to massively bus people somewhere."
Schooler says his organization already provides bus tickets to the homeless who request them, but he says it's usually only a handful of people a year.