In August, Madison.gov reported on a potential crisis: the loss of two places for the homeless to go during the day in winter.
In late September, Downtown Madison Inc. convened representatives from a number of downtown churches and Porchlight, an organization that assists homeless residents, to talk about possible solutions. "What are we going to do?" asks DMI president Susan Schmitz. "We can't leave them outside freezing."
While no solution has been reached yet, some possibilities are in the works, says Steven Schooler, executive director of Porchlight. "I have made a request to the state Department of Administration to open up the basement," he says. "We haven't heard back yet."
Porchlight is looking for whatever community space can be made available during the day, "particularly in the downtown area and particularly on weekends."
"I roughly estimate 100 people looking for space at any given time during the day," he says. "The strategy is to try to break them into smaller groups. That does include increasing capacity at some of the places we operate and at churches."
Anyone with space available can call Porchlight at 608-257-2534.