Maj. Paul Moore doesn't like having to turn homeless families away from the Salvation Army Shelter. But these days, he doesn't have much choice.
There aren't enough beds for all the families that need help.
"We've looked at expansion," Moore says. "To be honest, I don't know if there's community will for any of the shelters to expand. I think it's needed, but you can't do anything by yourself."
The Salvation Army on East Washington operates three shelters: a family shelter with 60 beds (which is always full and last week had a waiting list of 55), a single-women's shelter with 30 beds (which is usually filled over capacity) and an emergency shelter with 16 beds (which has often turned away people in the past month).
Despite the increased demand, the Salvation Army faces a $60,000 deficit for next year, and funds are shrinking fast under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget. The shelter expects to lose $20,000 in state funding. And about $700,000 of its funding comes from Dane County, which is facing its own cut from state. Oh, and the check it gets every January from the federal government still hasn't arrived.
The Salvation Army is the primary place for homeless families and women to find shelter in Madison, though there are other options, including the YWCA and some churches. But Moore says these places are also overtaxed.
"There's more demand and no more supply. We need to increase the supply," he says. "If I doubled my shelter tomorrow, it'd be full by next week."