Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Salvation Army, city of Madison plan new permanent homeless shelters

‘We need to do better by this population,’ Madison Director of Community Development says
Janani Sundar

The Salvation Army of Dane County secured $4 million in federal funding for a new shelter for women and families experiencing homelessness March 20, according to a press release from Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

“This is something that will impact Madison for, literally, many generations,” Salvation Army Advisory Chairman Jim Pope said.

The new campus will allow the Salvation Army to serve more women and families and will remedy current issues surrounding long wait times, as well as facilitate the expansion of other critical services, Pope said.


Exotic animal surrender event offers opportunity for Madison residents to rehome exotic pets

The new campus will include two buildings — the first, a temporary shelter, will begin construction when the Salvation Army reaches 80% of its $30 million funding goal, which is expected to occur in the next 60 days, Pope said. It will contain a shelter, medical respite center and community center. The second, called the Shield Apartments, will provide longer-term housing for guests and is expected to open in March of 2024.

The shelter, which will be located on East Washington Street, will provide space for 42 families and 82 single women, Salvation Army of Dane County Executive Director of Philanthropy Steve Heck said.

The Shield is currently under construction and will include 44 units, 37 of which will qualify as low-income housing, Heck said.

“We’ll be able to hopefully take people as they come through the shelter, and they can potentially move to an apartment [at the Shield], then stay there for a while while they stabilize and then move on someplace else,” Heck said.

In both buildings, guests will receive wraparound services, including dental care, case management and access to training and community spaces, Heck said. 

Despite difficulties arising during COVID-19 and a lack of physical space, the Salvation Army’s current efforts are extremely successful, Heck said. One hundred percent of guests who passed through Holly House, one of the Army’s rapid rehousing efforts, are still stably housed as of last year, Heck said.

Further, 83% of families who received assistance from the Dane County Assists With New Starts program are still in their homes, Heck said. Though this program does not utilize housing owned by the Salvation Army, the Army provides case work and move-in costs for users, according to the Salvation Army website.

The new men’s shelter on Bartillon Drive, which is currently under construction, will also be a critical aspect of addressing the homelessness crisis in Madison, according to the press release. 

City of Madison Community Development Director Jim O’Keefe said the existing men’s shelter is operated by a local nonprofit called Porchlight and was located in the basement of a church on Capitol Square. The shelter was temporarily relocated to Zeier Road in October 2022.

Tamara Keith discusses declining trust in media, importance of local news

The new men’s shelter, which will be owned by the city but operated by Porchlight, is expected to open mid-2025, O’Keefe said. The new building will accommodate around 250 men experiencing homelessness, compared to the current shelter which houses 200.

Though the capacity of guests will increase, the men’s shelter plans to double down on efforts to connect men experiencing homelessness with housing, O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe said University of Wisconsin students are aware of the housing crisis in Madison, not only because of their interactions with the homeless population, but because of their own struggles to find affordable housing.

Though the work currently being done to support Madison’s homeless population is essential, the construction of both the men’s and women’s permanent shelters is the first concerted effort to provide people without housing a dignified space, O’Keefe said.

“Any of us are just one domestic violence incident or catastrophic, catastrophic health event away from being without housing ourselves,” O’Keefe said. “How our community supports its most vulnerable residents says a lot about that community. And so, again, I think, we feel as a city that we can do better and need to do better and that’s a big part of what these projects are about.”

UW students discuss time managing mayoral campaign, encourage student engagement

Heck urged UW students to volunteer as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army during their upcoming campaign from July 8 through July 22, which not only raises funds but brings the mission of the Army into the public eye. 

According to the Salvation Army’s website, kettles that are manned by a volunteer raise $50 more dollars per hour than one that is unattended. Volunteers can also begin registering online to ring bells for the 2023 holiday season in fall, according to the website.

Students are also welcome to volunteer to run Activity Nights, where families and children are invited to participate in crafts, games and more, Heck said. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *