A Madison-based non-profit that helps homeless people is selling its Broadway Drive duplex that was the site of a fatal February shooting.
Neighbors met with Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser earlier this month, voicing frustrations of what they say are ongoing problems at the Broadway Drive property.
Porchlight Executive Director Karla Thennes said complaints following the shooting and the location of the duplex in single-family homes neighborhood led to the sale.
“We decided to sell the property because whatever we did, we didn’t think it would please the neighbors,” Thennes said.
Some neighbors of the Broadway Drive duplex said that the property was troublesome, but Thennes said she has only received one complaint in the four years that she has been executive director.
Twenty-nine-year-old Shanton S. Robinson of Marshall was reportedly shot at the 249 Broadway Drive residence on Feb. 23 after a fight over the $1,000 sale of codeine cough syrup. Robinson was dropped off at the UW Health Clinic on Winnebago Street and later died while being taking to a local hospital.
Anthony M. Young, 33, who lived at the duplex has been charged in Robinson’s death. Robinson was reportedly shot when he was trying to get his money back from Young because the codeine didn’t give him a high.
Sun Prairie Police reported finding 4.5 grams of cocaine, 4.6 grams of marijuana, a syringe that tested positive for heroin, a digital scale, and two firearms in Young’s bedroom.
Esser and other city officials met with neighbors on April 6 at city hall to listen to their concerns, before learning that Porchlight was selling the Broadway Drive location.
A Sun Prairie Star open records request to the Sun Prairie Police Department found that police were called out to 249 Broadway Drive 42 times since October 2017. Calls ranged from 911 disconnects, street parking, ambulance assist, domestic/family trouble, preserve peace, sexual assault, and a death investigation in June 2019.
The city didn’t request Porchlight to sell the property, Esser said, but recognizes the sale will have a positive impact on neighbors complaining about the property.
Esser, a proponent of affordable housing in Sun Prairie, said he welcomes future Porchlight properties in Sun Prairie. Thennes was invited to serve on the city’s housing study advisory committee. A Dane County Housing study reports that the county is lagging behind in building affordable housing units.
Porchlight Inc. also owns a four-plex apartment building at 1221 Sunfield St.
The organization isn’t looking to replace the Broadway Drive property with another Sun Prairie site, Thennes said. Instead, it will focus on Madison sites that have access to services and public transportation.
Porchlight operates 350 units of emergency, transitional and permanent housing in the Madison area and also offers mental health and case management services.
Porchlight has focused on eviction preventions during the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thennes said.
“There are huge needs out there now with people not being able to pay rent and utilities,” Thennes said.
“We have people who have never sought out this help before,” she added, “people who lost their jobs when businesses closed.”
Porchlight partners with Sunshine Place for eviction prevention grants, Thennes encourages those who need help to seek it because non-profit agencies are receiving federal money to help available for residents facing eviction or homelessness.