Police discovered a homeless family of 10 sleeping in the 200 block of State State Sunday morning, with members of the family saying they came to Madison seeking safety after experiencing violence in their Chicago neighborhood.
According to a Madison Police Department police statement, a man contacted police on his way to work after hearing an infant crying under a large pile of blankets on the 200 block. Two officers found a family of four adults and six children.
Several toddlers, a 5-month-old infant, a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old appeared to have been homeless for a couple of weeks, the statement said.
According to MPD Lt. Cory Nelson, the officer discovered the family sleeping on benches on the block and approached them.
The family told the police officers they did not want any handouts and expressed shock the officers had concern for the family’s welfare, the statement said.
Nelson said the family fled the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side to come to Madison in hopes this city would be safer. The family told the police their Chicago neighborhood was too dangerous because it was marked by shootings and murders, some of which included family acquaintances, Nelson said.
The First United Methodist, Second Baptist and Community of Hope Churches of Madison provided the family with food and money for short hotel stays while they find employment and get back on their feet.
Nelson said police reports do not say where the family is now and if they are currently in a homeless shelter. However, he said MPD provided aid to the family that should help them find housing.
“The officers provided them with resources in order to make living arrangements,” he said.
Both officers did not need to pursue any other action besides checking on the family’s welfare and leaving, the statement said, but showed “compassion and empathy.”
A MPD sergeant awarded both of the officers with a performance recognition award, the statement said.