Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development has a 25 year commitment to our Madison community – especially serving children, the disenfranchised, and those on the margins. Our program areas include academic and personal development for K-12 students, neighborhood chaplaincy, and extensive reentry services. We are concerned for the well-being and whole-health of individuals and communities throughout the greater Madison area. We work in collaboration with many community partners to bring about hope, transformation and justice.

In recent months we have purchased a building on Karstens Drive in north Madison, to offer transitional housing for ex-offenders (eventually including some who have committed sexual offenses). We are committed to working diligently to assist in the successful and positive reentry of these men into our community. Nehemiah has significant experience in housing ex-offenders, owning or managing three reentry houses in Madison: on the south side, near-east side, and now on the north side. For each of our properties, the case history and supervision level of each ex-offender is carefully reviewed to maintain the safety of other tenants, neighbors, and community members. The police have lauded us for our work in other housing units for ex-offenders in the city.

Recently, there has been significant public concern about our intentions for the residence on Karstens Dr. We will continue with our plans to work with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and other reentry organizations to use the apartments for ex-offenders. It is our intent to house those reentering the community who are prepared to rent their own residence and live in a safe and sober environment. In regards to the Karstens location, we will work carefully to maintain a balance of tenants, likely including some who have committed sexual offenses. We will have a resident house manager living in one of the apartments, will offer programming and coaching for these men, will coordinate efforts with DOC agents, and will work with law enforcement to ensure that there is appropriate neighborhood coverage. We will continue to assess all potential renters to ensure the safety and well-being of the neighborhood as well as the ex-offenders. In order to have time to build a strong and collaborative relationship with the neighbors, at this time we have decided not to rent to the person who was the subject of the March 13th Community Notification Meeting.

Ex-offenders (sex offenders and otherwise) are released into Madison communities on a regular basis. Research shows that ex-offenders are far less likely to reoffend when their basic needs (food, shelter, water, clothing) are met and as they become integral, productive members of society. By providing stable housing opportunities as well as supportive programming, Nehemiah is helping to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, and is contributing to improved public safety.

We hope to have a growing partnership with residents and various neighborhood organizations in this vibrant North side community, and we welcome the participation of the community in the pursuit of hope, transformation, and justice.

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