Madison allowing homeless to camp in certain parks to protect them from the coronavirus

MADISON -- The city of Madison is allowing homeless people to camp in certain city parks and greenways to help protect them against the coronavirus.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway signed an emergency order on Thursday. The Wisconsin State Journal reports the order allows the city to designate locations in city parks and greenways where “temporary permissible encampments” won’t be disturbed, as long as guidelines are followed.

The move is designed to let homeless people camping outside stay where there are, not encourage new encampments.

City officials say based on previous counts, an estimated 150 to 200 homeless people in the Madison area aren’t in shelters but sleep in cars, under bridges, on sidewalks and in doorways, and in tents in warmer months..

Instead of disrupting such encampments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends local governments try to support encampments and connect them to services.