The Image of Homelessness
By Ronnie Barbett
Homeless people are looking much better these days. Thanks to a variety of organizations and the many volunteers throughout the Madison metro area, we now have a better image. The homeless men and women are looking, feeling, hygienically smelling…and therefore, acting a little bit better.
I am going about the day-to-day work to try to improve my life – keeping up with appointments, job interviews, apartment searching, All have been made easier with the many organizations that offer help, such as the Hospitality House, the day warming shelter, and First United Methodist Methodist Church outreach ministries, who try to provide bus passes – a very valuable service necessary to low-income and homeless people.
It is very important to mention that the shelters do provide shower facilities supported by the Multi-cultural Center and First United. The Multi-cultural Center provides day showers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as many other services for the homeless. Shower Power at First United comes to life on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and both of these places mentioned provide homeless guests with soap, towels, and other helpful provisions. As we move around this city with other homeless people, word of mouth provides us with these and other places that will assist us with important needs.
Most places that do these good deeds don’t really think of the overall impact of their kindness. They give it all with a smile knowing you can use it. If you find all this hard to believe, you haven’t been around. Out here, you might meet Connie of the State Street family. She writes down your name and your need and remembers to bring it to you the next time she comes there. At Bethel Lutheran Church just off the square, a woman will put your requested items to the side and will remind you to pick them up later. At First United, its outreach director will actually hold your items for later in the week. Anything and everything else is generously donated to the many churches throughout the city.
One certain days in certain places, one can show up to receive handouts important to one’s well-being. I was amazed to find out about the Bubbles Project – a laundry facility here in Madison that sets aside time on Tuesdays and Fridays for the homeless to do their laundry free of charge. They even provide the laundry soap.
If clothing is your priority, your first stop should be the Community Action Coalition (CAC), located on Stoughton Road just north of the East Washington corridor. The CAC should definitely be number one on your list. Why? To me, the CAC resembles a department store clothing section with some of the most helpful people around to assist you. Another good place to shop is Bethel Lutheran Church (the same Bethel church as I mentioned before) on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. Mark Wilson’s ministry service at this church is run by volunteers who stock belts, sweaters, dresses, shirts, coats and jackets, neatly set up in a room staffed by Bev and Barbara.
If you would like to find out if you quality for any of these services, just ask your local church for information, addresses, and the times available for these services.