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(AUDIO): Homelessness will be major focus of Columbia business leaders when they travel to Madison

(AUDIO): Homelessness will be major focus of Columbia business leaders when they travel to Madison

The Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison (2023 photo courtesy of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce)

Columbia business leaders and elected officials will travel to Madison, Wisconsin for September’s leadership visit.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce president Matt McCormick announced the visit during this week’s Regional Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) board meeting at Mizzou. Mr. McCormick tells 939 the Eagle that Madison has been doing great things with homelessness, and Columbia leaders want to see what they’ve done.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed with Madison pre-COVID versus post-COVID, they’ve done a lot of work during that timeframe around homelessness. And a lot of the issues that they’ve been dealing with, which are a lot of the same issues we’re dealing with, the unhoused. And you know people are wanting to responsibly help this,” McCormick says.

Columbia’s city council voted in February to approve a permit that allows for the construction and operation of a proposed homeless shelter near the Business Loop. The Voluntary Action Center (VAC) would operate the shelter, under the proposal.

Columbia Chamber members and others visited College Station, Texas in October. They’ve also traveled to Tuscaloosa, Athens, Knoxville and Gainesville in previous visits. Mr. McCormick is inviting business representatives and elected officials on the trip.

“Our leadership visits are always made up of business leaders, business owners of small, medium and large-sized businesses. But it’s also made up of elected officials on the local level, on the state level. We have different organizations, we have our city and our county are part of it. The University (of Missouri) is a part of it. Because it’s going to take all of us to work on these issues,” says McCormick.

Madison, Wisconsin, which has about 269,000 residents, is a state capital and is also home to the University of Wisconsin.  This will be the chamber’s tenth leadership visit.