City News

Downtown homeless shelter will open in October, seeks volunteers

The Beacon, Madison’s new homeless day resource center, could receive additional funds from the city if a budget amendment is accepted.

Image By: Brandon Moe

After a funding issue almost delayed the long-awaited opening of a downtown homeless day shelter, the center has announced it will open Oct. 16 and is actively looking for volunteers.

The Beacon, located at 615 E. Washington Ave., will be open all year, provided it fills the 30,000 volunteer hours it needs to keep the lights on.

The shelter will provide roughly 150 homeless people with services such as free food, healthcare screenings, help with employment, showers, laundry machines and a computer lab.

Seven staff members from the group that runs the shelter, Catholic Charities, will work at the center. But in order to provide all services, the Beacon will depend largely on unpaid community members.

Students and others can sign up to volunteer at the center, which is located east of the Capitol in the former Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce building, by visiting the Beacon’s website.

Volunteer opportunities include supervising laundry and shower services, providing lunches and assisting in the computer lab, as well as simply talking with and advising guests and playing with children.

Spanish-speaking and Hmong-speaking volunteers are in especially high demand. Volunteers must be 18 or older. 

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