The Dane County Salvation Army and congressional representatives announced a $4 million federal grant funding a new shelter for women, children and families experiencing homelessness at a press conference Monday.
Construction began in February on the 600 block of East Washington Avenue. The shelter is expected to open in February 2024.
Jim Pope, chair of Dane County’s Salvation Army advisory board, said the new building will be better equipped to provide adequate shelter and resources than the current structure.
“When our guests come to stay the evening at our shelter, the queuing is outside, which can be problematic,” Pope said. “The new shelter will provide increased capacity and inside queuing, which should improve the experience for the guests and the neighborhood.”
Spearheaded by Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Mark Pocan, the shelter is projected to offer many benefits to Dane County communities, including aiding women and children experiencing homelessness or escaping domestic violence situations, Baldwin said at the press conference Monday.
“This investment will expand access to affordable housing, safe shelter and critical support services for women and children experiencing homelessness in Dane County, and women and children fleeing domestic violence and dangerous situations,” Baldwin said. “This investment will save lives.”
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the grant will help the city continue to support residents experiencing homelessness.
“The needs of those in Madison who find themselves temporarily without housing will continue long after these federal funds have been depleted,” Rhodes-Conway said.
The new shelter will be a vital resource for individuals facing housing insecurity, according to Pope. The new shelter will prioritize providing emergency services, general support services and assistance in transitioning people to permanent housing, he said.
“The Salvation Army provides case management to assist our clients to transition back into permanent housing,” Pope said. “The new building will allow us to reach more in a more dignified setting.”
According to the advisory board, the shelter will consist of two buildings. The first will contain emergency shelter rooms for families, a center for women’s housing, medical resources, a cafeteria, chapel, computer lab and several other important amenities.
The other building, currently under construction, will include affordable housing units for families, financed by state grants, low-income housing tax credits and the Madison’s Affordable Housing Fund, Pope said.